A Texas Sheriff featured on “Live PD” is now facing charges of evidence tampering — he’s accused of deleting video of cops chasing a Black man who died in custody.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was indicted Monday by a grand jury … and turned himself into the county jail, which he also oversees.
Williamson County D.A. Shawn Dick and Travis County D.A. Margaret Moore launched a joint investigation back in June after body cam footage, obtained by KVUE-TV, showed Javier Ambler‘s fatal interaction with police. ‘Live PD’ reportedly destroyed footage of the deadly chase.
Jason Nassour, the former Williamson County general counsel who was also at the scene of Ambler’s March 2019 death, was also indicted on a felony charge of evidence tampering.
The indictments came down after weeks of grand jury investigation, including testimony from sheriff’s deputies who were at the scene when Ambler died.
Prosecutors say they can’t share what they’ve learned about Sheriff Chody’s role in destroying footage — it’s an ongoing case.
Ambler died after Sheriff’s deputies Zach Camden and J.J. Johnson pursued him for 22 minutes in a chase that started when Ambler didn’t dim his headlights.
During the pursuit, Ambler’s car crashed multiple times before coming to a stop in a North Austin neighborhood. Cops used tasers 4 times on him as he struggled for air, screaming about a heart condition and saying he couldn’t breathe. Minutes later he died.
“Live PD” crews followed the deputies and cameras were rolling during the encounter, and there’s police body camera footage. Prosecutors say the “Live PD” video likely showed the clearest perspective of the deadly incident.
The A&E reality show was scrapped just days after the Austin Statesman reported the Ambler footage was destroyed. That decision came during the height of nationwide protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd‘s death.
The contract between “Live PD” and Williamson County reportedly allowed the show to destroy unaired footage within 30 days, unless it was required to be retained by a court order or other state or federal law.
Former “Live PD” host Dan Abrams claimed on his website sheriff’s officials asked producers to save the video initially. Abrams says 2 months after Ambler’s death, Sheriff Chody told producers the investigation was over and producers destroyed the footage.
Sheriff Chody has never mentioned knowledge of the footage in public statements.