WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — A Texas sheriff has been indicted on an evidence-tampering charge in the destruction of reality TV show footage amid investigations into the death of a Black man in police custody that occurred during filming for A&E Network’s real-time police show “Live PD,” the Statesman reported.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore opened a joint investigation in June, a week after the Statesman and KVUE-TV revealed details of Javier Ambler II’s death and reported that “Live PD” had destroyed its footage.
Sheriff Robert Chody is facing the third-degree felony charge, which is punishable by two to 10 years in custody and a fine of up to $10,000.
Former Williamson County general counsel Jason Nassour, who was also at the scene of the deadly March 2019 incident, also was indicted on the same alleged offense.
Ambler, 40, died after Williamson County sheriff’s deputies used Tasers on the non-compliant suspect, while he said he was sick and couldn’t breathe.
BREAKING: Williamson County @SheriffChody has been indicted on an evidence tampering charge relating to the destruction of "Live PD" footage that showed deputies chasing and using force on Javier Ambler, a Black man who died after the incident https://t.co/bQxqWBtYK1
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) September 28, 2020
Williamson County deputies attempted to pull Ambler over on March 28, 2019, near downtown Austin because he failed to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic, according to a report first published by the Statesman. The deputies were being filmed for A&E Network’s real-time police show “Live PD,” a feature of the arrest that prosecutors said was particularly troubling.
Police body camera video of Ambler’s death shows the gasping 400-pound man telling the deputies that he wants to comply with their demands but that he can’t because he has congestive heart failure, FOX reported.
Chody, a Republican, will be on the ballot for re-election in November. Before Chody became a sheriff in 2017, he served as an elected Williamson County Constable for eight years and a patrol officer for the Austin Police Department, KVUE reported.
On another note, he also happens to be a lottery winner, KVUE reported. Chody and his wife, Beverly, won $85 million in the Texas Lotto jackpot, taking home $51 million of it back in 2001.