Two Texas sheriff’s deputies were charged with manslaughter for the death of a black man who was repeatedly tasered while his traffic stop was filmed for Live PD.
Zachary Camden and James Johnson, former Williamson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, were indicted for the death of Javier Ambler, 40, by a grand jury on Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza announced in a press release.
The court set a $150,000 bail for each of them and prohibited them from working in law enforcement agencies or security companies.
The same grand jury heard evidence related to Austin Police Department Officer Michael Nissen’s involvement in the incident but chose not to indict him.
With these indictments, we have taken another critical step towards justice for the Ambler family and for our community,’ Garza said in the release.
‘While we can never take away the pain of the Ambler family, the grand jury has sent a clear message that no one is above the law.’
In October, it was revealed that Ambler’s family had filed a lawsuit against Williamson County during the filming of the cop reality TV show.
The deputies pursued the father-of-two for 22 minutes into downtown Austin in a police chase that was captured on camera for an episode of A&E network’s Live PD.
Police body camera video of Ambler’s death shows the gasping 400lb-man telling the deputies that he wants to comply with their demands but that he can´t because he has congestive heart failure.
‘I am not resisting,’ Ambler cries. ‘Sir, I can’t breathe… Please… Please.’
He was pronounced dead an hour later.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed in the Western District of Texas, Ambler’s parents claimed cops had used excessive force during their son’s arrest to ‘produce more ‘entertaining’ content’ for the show.
A&E has said its video never aired because of a policy against showing a death, and it did not keep the footage after it was informed that the initial investigation had closed.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED
Last month, the Williamson County Commissioner’s Court – the local governing body – issued its Racial Profiling Report, which is required under the state’s Sandra Bland Act.
The report found that: ‘A higher 28 percentage of blacks and American Indians came in contact with the Sheriff’s Office deputies than the percentage of black and American Indian households in Williamson County that claimed, in the 2010 census, to have access to vehicles.’
The Commissioner’s Court found that an analysis of traffic stop data showed that most of searches did not produce contraband, ‘which is consistent with law enforcement trends.’
‘It is very difficult to determine if individual police deputies are engaging in racial profiling, from a review and analysis of aggregate/institutional data,’ the report reads.
‘In other words, it is challenging for a reputable researcher to identify specific ‘individual’ racist behavior from aggregate-level ‘institutional’ data on traffic or motor vehicle-related contacts.’