Two Ex-Deputies Face Manslaughter Charges in Black Man’s Death in Texas

Two Ex-Deputies Face Manslaughter Charges in Black Man’s Death in Texas
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Two Ex-Deputies Face Manslaughter Charges in Black Man’s Death in Texas

Two Ex-Deputies Face Manslaughter Charges in Black Man’s Death in Texas

Two ex-sheriff’s deputies in Texas have been indicted on second-degree manslaughter expenses in the demise of a Black driver whom they repeatedly shot with a Taser throughout a 2019 site visitors cease regardless of his pleas that he had coronary heart illness and couldn’t breathe, a prosecutor stated on Tuesday.

The previous Williamson County deputies, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, had been accompanied by a tv crew from the truth tv present “Stay PD” on the time of their deadly encounter with Javier Ambler, 40, whom they had been pursuing for failing to dim his lights to oncoming site visitors.

The fees in opposition to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Camden had been introduced by José Garza, the district lawyer in neighboring Travis County, which incorporates Austin, Texas, the place Mr. Ambler crashed his automobile after the police pursued him over a site visitors violation.

“With these indictments, we now have taken one other essential step in the direction of justice for the Ambler household and for our neighborhood,” Mr. Garza stated in an announcement. “Whereas we are able to by no means take away the ache of the Ambler household, the grand jury has despatched a transparent message that nobody is above the regulation.”

Ken Ervin and Doug O’Connell, the attorneys for Mr. Johnson and Mr. Camden, stated in a joint assertion on Tuesday that Mr. Ambler had led the previous deputies on a chase for 22 minutes after a sequence of collisions and had resisted arrest.

“Mr. Ambler’s bodily exertion in resisting the three officers it took to get him into handcuffs little doubt contributed to his medical emergency, however Mr. Johnson and Mr. Camden are neither morally nor legally liable for his demise,” the assertion stated.

The attorneys for the previous deputies accused Mr. Garza of attempting to attain political factors with the indictments, which got here just a few weeks after Mr. Garza introduced {that a} grand jury had returned an indictment in opposition to an Austin police officer in the taking pictures demise of a person final 12 months that touched off protests in opposition to police violence in the state capital. The attorneys additionally symbolize the officer in that case.

Bail was set at $150,000 for Mr. Johnson and Mr. Camden; each have been launched. Their attorneys stated the previous deputies supposed to plead not responsible and turned themselves in on Tuesday after their indictments had been signed on Monday.

Mr. Ambler’s father, Javier Ambler Sr., thanked Mr. Garza in an announcement for pursuing expenses in opposition to the previous deputies.

“Our objective has all the time been to carry these officers accountable in order that there aren’t any extra households who must endure like ours has,” the assertion stated.

On March 28, 2019, Williamson County deputies tried to cease Javier Ambler as a result of the automobile he was driving didn’t dim its lights to site visitors, officers stated. After deputies tried to tug Mr. Ambler over, the authorities stated, he saved driving for greater than 20 minutes and crashed his automobile in downtown Austin.

There, deputies used a Taser on Mr. Ambler a number of instances.

“I’ve congestive coronary heart failure,” Mr. Ambler could possibly be heard saying on the physique digicam video. “I can’t breathe.” As he and the deputies struggled, Mr. Ambler stated, “Save me.” One deputy yelled, “Do what we’re asking you to do.”

Mr. Ambler was transported to Dell Seton Medical Heart in Austin and pronounced lifeless simply after 2:30 a.m.

The indictments of the previous deputies introduced the variety of folks charged in reference to Mr. Ambler’s demise to 4. Final 12 months, the county’s sheriff on the time of Mr. Ambler’s demise, Robert Chody, was arrested on an proof tampering cost associated to destruction of recordings of the encounter. He has pleaded not responsible, together with Jason Nassour, a Williamson County assistant lawyer, who was additionally charged with proof tampering.

“Stay PD,” which premiered on A&E in 2016, beforehand broadcast law enforcement officials across the nation as they made site visitors stops, responded to calls and went on high-speed chases. The present was virtually dwell; a delay helped keep away from airing footage that was notably disturbing.

A disclaimer originally of every broadcast informed viewers that “all suspects are presumed harmless till confirmed responsible.” The present didn’t cowl what occurred to individuals who had been arrested. Typically, folks being filmed shielded their faces or objected to the presence of cameras.

Tv reveals about policing attracted scrutiny final summer time amid nationwide protests following the demise of George Floyd in Could, and in June, A&E introduced that it had ceased manufacturing of “Stay PD.”

Representatives of A&E didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday.

Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.

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