This story has been updated to include information from two press conferences on Monday afternoon.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has been indicted and arrested on a felony charge for destroying video evidence related to the death of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died in custody last year, according to local reports.
Chody was booked at the Williamson County Jail on Monday and later released after posting $10,000 bond.
Williamson County Jail records show Chody was arrested on Monday.(Williamson County Jail)
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore opened a joint investigation in June, after the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE reported that Ambler's death had been recorded during a taping of the A&E reality show "Live PD," which has since been canceled, and later destroyed.
"This is a search for the truth and is necessary because even now we have not obtained the information we seek from Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, despite his public statements pledging cooperation," the district attorneys wrote in a press release issued on June 19.
Ambler, 40, died in March 2019 after WCSO deputies chased him for failing to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic. During the chase, Ambler crashed his car multiple times. The deputies then tased him "four times as he gasped that he had a heart condition and could not breathe," according to the Statesman.
Live PD host Dan Abrams said that producers destroyed their video footage of Ambler's death in accordance with show policy.
Moore said during a press conference on Monday afternoon that her office is investigating whether there is evidence to support a charge of evidence tampering in Travis County.
Chody is up for reelection this November against Democratic candidate Mike Gleason. During a separrate news conference on Monday afternoon, he accused Dick and Moore of pursuing a political agenda before the election.
"I did not tamper with evidence," Chody said.
I'll be holding press conference today at 3:30 pm. https://t.co/4qqMHf4Bmy— Williamson County Sheriff Chody (@Williamson County Sheriff Chody)1601318809.0
Former Williamson County attorney Jason Nassour was indicted on the same charge, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Under Chody's leadership, WCSO has come under scrutiny for rewarding deputies who used force against civilians with steakhouse gift cards. The Texas Rangers are currently investigating five use of force cases involving WCSO deputies.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.