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Javier Ambler case reaches $5 million settlement in wrongful death suit

Ambler was killed in March 2019 after telling officers he had heart health issues. (Ambler family)

Officials with Williamson County have reached a settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit of Javier Ambler, who died in police custody while officers were filming his arrest for the TV show “Live PD.”

A Tuesday morning meeting at the county commissioners court yielded a settlement of $5 million on behalf of his family and estate. The two former deputies with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, J.J. Johnson and Zach Camden, were indicted for manslaughter in March 2021.

The former officers will appear in court today.

The deputies and their lawyers will appear in court on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the footage and what it means for the former officers.

Ambler died in March 2019 after the WilCo deputies attempted to pull him over to dim his headlights. The pair pursued Ambler for 22 minutes, watching him hit some stationary objects along the way until he passed into Travis County and his car would not move further.

During the arrest, bodycam footage picked up on Ambler telling the officers he had congestive heart failure and could not breathe while they restrained and tasered him. Ambler was transported to a local hospital when he became unresponsive and later passed away.

Cameras for the since-canceled A&E TV show “Live PD” were filming the entire scene. A few days after the incident, the network confirmed that it had deleted the footage, which prompted WilCo District Attorney Shawn Dick to open an evidence-tampering investigation.

Former WilCo Sheriff Robert Chody and General Counsel Jason Nassour were indicted for tampering with evidence and conspiracy in relation to the missing footage in September 2020.

Since, “The Javier Ambler Law” was signed by Governor Greg Abbott earlier this year, banning law enforcement from working with reality TV shows.

A statement by Ambler’s family on Tuesday said they “hope that this settlement and the changes that have occurred at Williamson County as a result of the case send a powerful statement that ignoring a person’s pleas that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated.”


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