AUSTIN, Texas - Many of those who came out to protest Saturday evening at Austin Police Headquarters have been here before. But this time the focus of the anger and demand for change was for Javier Ambler, a man who died a year earlier here in Austin.
“For me, for me, it’s finding the root cause for these incidents that have occurred throughout our whole nation and the world,” said a protester named David.
Police body cam video shows the fatal confrontation that Javier Ambler had with Williamson County Sherriff deputies. It happened early in the morning of March 28th, 2019. As deputies struggled to put on handcuffs, Ambler could be heard telling them he had a medical condition and that he was in distress. Javier Ambler died at the scene.
A Report submitted to the state classified the death as a homicide. The report noted it was justifiable because of his health condition. The protesters Saturday expressed outrage that the deadly confrontation that night started because Ambler had failed to dim his headlights as he reportedly drove from a poker game.
There was a 22-minute chase, ending with Ambler crashing in an East Austin neighborhood. The body camera video came from an APD officer and its believed other officers from Austin were also on the scene. A TV crew with Live-Pd was with the deputies and recorded the incident however the images were never broadcast and eventually deleted.
Protesters point to the case as to why police officers should receive more training on intervention. “I don’t know, I don’t know, I wish I had an answer for you but I think we’re gonna find out what's really going to be a fix, I don’t know if defunding police is going to help, I don’t think it will, but I think it needs to be something that happens within the justice system,” said a protester named Andrea.
An investigation by the Travis County District attorney's office has been going on for more than a year. The group marched to the DA's office to protest how she has handled the ambler case. There was a confrontation with Austin police as some protesters tried to enter the office building. Pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd.
District attorney Margaret Moore told FOX 7 the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented the case from being presented to a grand jury. She also criticized the Williamson County sheriff's office for not cooperating with her team. Sheriff Robert Chody has denied his office has not cooperated.
Protesters Saturday not only called for Sheriff Chody to resign, they also want the names made public of all the officers and deputies who were at the scene in 2019.