The death of Javier Ambler in the custody of Texas police last year is getting renewed attention after bodycam footage of his arrest shows him repeatedly telling officers "I can't breathe." Ambler's whole arrest was filmed for the popular show Live PD, which has been pulled from TV schedules amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racism.
When Ambler, 40, was pulled over for allegedly failing to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic, the traffic stop turned into a 22-minute car chase on March 28, 2019. After the chase came to an end, Ambler was tased four times, with NBC News reporting the new bodycam footage coming not from the Williamson County Sheriff's deputies making the arrest, but from Austin Police officers who arrived on the scene later. The footage, obtained by local station KXAN, reportedly shows the officer telling Ambler, "Give me your hands or I'm going to tase you again." Ambler can be heard saying, "I have congestive heart failure. I can't breathe."
The father-of-two's death was ruled a homicide in a filing with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, according to KXAN, which reported that Ambler died of "congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint."
Monday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said her office has been "fighting" with the Williamson County Sheriff's office for a year to release footage of the arrest. She continued, "For the last year, Wilco has stonewalled our investigation. We planned to take this case before a grand jury in April, but bc of COVID-19 we’ll be empaneling this summer. We’re taking this case seriously & working to seek justice for Javier & his family."
Over the last year, the District Attorney’s Office has been fighting with Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to have Live PD video footage related to Javier Ambler’s death released. What should have been a routine traffic stop, ended with Javier’s death.— Margaret Moore (@ElectMargaret) June 8, 2020
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody issued a statement Tuesday morning, as per KXAN. "While we cannot comment on the Ambler incident due to the ongoing investigation by the Travis County D.A., we can correct misleading statements made by the Travis County D.A.," he said. The sheriff added, "Any attempt to say we have slowed or otherwise impeded the investigation is absolutely false. We participated fully in the investigation launched by the Austin Police Department, the results of which have been forwarded to the Travis County D.A."