Javier Ambler

Williamson County Settles 2019 Javier Ambler Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $5 Million

Man died after telling deputies he couldn't do what they were asking him to do

NBC 5 News

The Williamson County Commissioners Court agreed to a settlement Tuesday with the family of Javier Ambler, a man who died in 2019 in the custody of the sheriff's department after repeatedly being shot with stun guns.

Ambler, a Black man, was chased by Williamson County Sheriff's Deputies for 22 minutes after trying to pull him over for allegedly failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic.

The man died after deputies used stun guns on him, despite his pleas that he was sick and couldn't breathe.

According to a statement posted online, the county will pay approximately $1.6 million of the settlement with the balance being paid by the county's insurance.

The report on Ambler’s death was published in the summer of 2020 as thousands paid their respects to George Floyd at a church in Houston. Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis sparked weeks of protests worldwide against police brutality and the treatment of Black people.

Police body camera video of Ambler’s death, released to the Austin American-Statesman under the Texas Public Information Act, showed the gasping 400-pound man telling deputies he wanted to comply with their demands but that he couldn’t because he had congestive heart failure.

“I am not resisting,” Ambler cried. “Sir, I can’t breathe. … Please. … Please.”

Deputies told him to put his arms behind his back.

Save me,” he pleaded.

“Do what we’re asking you to do!” a deputy shouts.

“I can’t,” Ambler said. Those were his last words.

The stop in suburban Austin was recorded by "Live PD," which was canceled by the A&E Network in June. Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed HB54 into law banning Texas police from working with reality television shows. HB54 was also known as Javier Ambler’s Law.

Two Williamson County Sheriff's Deputies, James Johnson, 36, and Zachary Camden, 26, were both charged with second-degree manslaughter.

NBC 5 and the Associated Press.
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