GEORGETOWN, Texas - Video of Williamson County sheriff's deputies struggling to put handcuffs on Javier Ambler was released Tuesday to FOX7.
Deputies used a stun gun several times. During the incident, Ambler not only said he had a medical condition but was that he having trouble catching his breath while face down. Several times on the video you can hear him say, “I can’t breathe,” and that he was not resisting.
By the time Javier Ambler was sat up, he was unresponsive and efforts to revive him failed.
Two Williamson County Commissioners on Tuesday, after seeing the video for the first time, called for Sheriff Robert Chody to step down. Commissioner Terry Cook indicated the incident was just one of several reasons and read a statement as to why she has lost faith in Chody.
“I have no confidence that he has the temperament, operational intelligence, administrative ability, nor the people skills to handle the job, in short, I call for his resignation before the Williamson County Sheriff's Office falls into complete dysfunction and taking many good employees of that office down with him,” said Cook.
The intersection of St Johns and Bethune Avenue is where Javier Ambler crashed March 28, 2019. Documents obtained by FOX7 show he was being chased by Williamson County deputies for failing to dim his headlights. Why he didn’t stop is unknown.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!
A mandatory report submitted to the Texas Attorney General Office listed Ambler’s death as “homicide” with a notation as “justifiable.” The medical cause listed was congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint.
At the time of the incident, a production crew for the TV show Live PD was with the deputies, but the video was never broadcast on the show.
“I say, we are shocked, horrified. I have been disturbed by this case from the day that we got it,” said Travis County DA Margaret Moore when asked what she can tell the community.
DA Moore explained that the outbreak of COVID-19 hindered their investigation, but that wasn’t the only reason why she said it’s taken so long to complete it.
“The investigation was greatly affected and delayed at the lack of cooperation from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the total lack of cooperation from LivePD. The possibility of video being out there that would be critical about the contact at this case really affected our ability to move forward.,” said Moore.
Sheriff Robert Chody, posted a comment on social media Tuesday and said Moore’s statements were misleading. The Sheriff went on to say "the Travis County DA has not contacted us for any reason related to this investigation. Any attempt to say that we have Slowed or otherwise impeded the investigation is absolutely false.”
Along with calling for Sheriff Chody‘s resignation, Commissioner Cynthia Long wants the two deputies directly involved the chase and Ambler’s apprehension to be fired. At last check, they remain on the job.
However, several Austin police officers were also on the scene that night. FOX7 asked DA Moore if those APD officers should be held accountable for not intervening. “We do not see any reason for their conduct to be under investigation, they are obviously witnesses, and to tell you the truth, I’m grateful they were there because that is the video we have,” said Moore.
DA Moore indicated she feels the TV program is why a police chase for such a minor offense took place. She told FOX7 it’s her belief that law enforcement should not be considered entertainment. The case is expected to be presented to a grand jury in July, at the latest by August.