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Family of Black Man wrongfully killed sues Texas County during live PD production

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Family sues Texas county for wrongful death of Black man during live PD production
live PD production

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Incidences and cases of American’s Police brutality seem to be always resurfacing as many families and past victims of police oppression and brutality are speaking up and recently filling charges against the American police.

The family of a black man who died after a car chase with deputies accompanied by a reality television camera crew filed a lawsuit against Williamson County, Texas, where a sheriff is facing tampering charges in the case.

The family of Javier Ambler filed suit Sunday under the state’s Wrongful Death Act, alleging that sheriff’s deputies engaged in a reckless chase of Ambler to make entertaining television for “Live PD,” the lawsuit said.

“He was my first born, you know. And I’m here to tell you they took him away…they took him away way too early from me,” his father, Javier Ambler, Sr., said. “He was supposed to bury me.”

His mother, Martiza Ambler, described her son as a calm and warm personality and as was someone who was loved.

“This lawsuit is not going to bring my child back, but it is going to represent some kind of justice for my son,” his mother said. “And that’s all we’re asking for.

On March 28, 2019, two deputies in different squad cars engaged in a chase of Ambler for allegedly failing to dim his headlights. A “Live PD” camera crew who was with one of the deputies began filming the chase, according to the lawsuit.

Deputies followed Ambler for over 20 minutes, ending in the city of Austin where Ambler was restrained and tased at least three times. Ambler told the deputies that he could not breathe and that he had a heart condition, body camera footage released by Austin police and seen by NBC News showed.

His manner of death has been declared a homicide, according to a custodial death report filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Ambler died of congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint, the report said.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody’s “pursuit policy allowed officers to chase motorists who committed trivial traffic violations,” the family’s lawsuit alleges.

“Sheriff Chody’s permissive chase policy, and his policy of allowing Live PD to film policing activities as ‘entertainment,’ encouraged Johnson to chase Ambler for this trivial offense,” the lawsuit said.

Chody is accused of destroying or concealing audio and video footage from the “Live PD” filming that showed his deputies pursuing and using force on Ambler. Following an investigation by the district attorney offices in Williamson and Travis counties, Chody was indicted by a grand jury on a felony evidence tampering charge and released on a $10,000 bond in September.

The sheriff denied tampering with evidence in a press conference following his release. It does not appear that he has entered a plea, based on court records.

“From the beginning, the Ambler incident has been hampered by prosecutors failing to act,” Chody said after his indictment.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is part of the legal team representing Ambler’s family, called the behavior of Chody and his deputies “nothing short of disgusting.” Police chases and violent encounters doubled in the year following the county’s contract with “Live PD,” Crump told reporters.

“Sheriff Robert Chody chose the dramatic content over safeguarding the lives of the residents he was sworn to protect and defend,” Crump said.

The family of the victim claimed that the police department are meant to safe guard lives and properties and not undermine or jeopardize it. The series of negligence recorded amongst security officers, who worst still try to manoeuvre and cover up their tracks after such heinous acts leaves a bad taste and little to be desired especially in a civilized society like the U.S.

 

Gift Joseph Okpakorese

Staff Writer

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