By Michael Wheeler and Stephanie Boulos
TRAVIS COUNTY, TX – Accused of deleting key body camera footage showing the killing of Javier Ambler by police while the crew from TV show “Live PD” was filming, attorney Jason Nassour was indicted for felony evidence tampering by a Travis County, Texas, grand jury last Thursday.
Nassour, the former general counsel of the Williamson County, Texas, Attorney’s Office, is the latest in a string of indictments relating to Ambler’s killing.
Two Williamson County sheriff’s deputies, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, were indicted on March 30 for charges of 2nd degree manslaughter in Ambler’s death.
Austin Police Department officer Michael Ramos was indicted on 1st degree murder of Ambler.
The Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was also indicted on evidence tampering charges.
Ambler died on March 28, 2019. He had been driving near Austin when Johnson and Camden began following him for allegedly failing to dim his headlights in the face of oncoming traffic.
The officers, who were themselves being followed by a film crew for the show “Live PD,” a reality show aired by A&E, pursued Ambler for 20 minutes before they were able to make a traffic stop.
The body camera footage of the deputies, which Nassour is accused of deleting, has not been found. However, the body camera footage of an Austin police officer who witnessed Ambler’s death was not deleted.
That footage shows Ambler being tased three times while police arrested him. Ambler, who suffered from congestive heart failure, told the deputies, “I can’t breathe,” multiple times.
His death was ruled a homicide, although that does not necessarily rule out being “justified.” The reason of death was listed as congestive heart disease and hypertension stemming from his obesity, “in combination with forcible restraint.”
His autopsy did not indicate that he had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a condition that has been central to the discourse and trial surrounding the death of another Black man at the hands of the police, George Floyd.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza, where the cases are being prosecuted, expressed his sympathy for the family of Ambler.
“I know that these indictments will not bring peace to the Ambler family. No parent should have to bury their child. But we remain committed to seeing this through on behalf of not just Javier Ambler, but also our community,” he said.
Stephanie Boulos is a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!
Michael Wheeler is a junior at UC Davis, where he studies History and Economics. He is from Walnut Creek, California.
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