Texas Sheriff Faces Evidence-Tampering Charge In Black Man’s Death

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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A Texas sheriff was arrested Monday for allegedly tampering with evidence in a 2019 case surrounding the death of a black motorist, The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors say Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody allegedly tampered with video of the incident from a police ride-along program, where a motorist, Javier Ambler, died after police repeatedly tasered him after he said that he had a heart condition and could not breathe, according to the Times.

The altercation was captured on two videos, one by a body camera worn by a Williamson County deputy, and the other was filmed by the crew of “Live PD,” a reality show that was filming the deputies at the scene.

The show’s footage was never broadcast and was not requested by any police departments, the Times reported. After the department concluded its internal investigation, a representative from the show said that the video had been destroyed as a matter of the show’s policy, according to the Austin Statesman, but has become central to the investigation into Chody, said Margaret Moore, the district attorney in neighboring Travis County, where Ambler was tased.

“The first order of business will be the presentation of evidence regarding the tampering case that has now been indicted here in Williamson,” Moore said, adding that the “Live PD” video “would be wholly material to the investigation” her office is conducting, according to the Times.

Chody and Jason Nassour, a Williamson County assistant attorney, were charged with tampering recordings from the incident, and were indicted on a third-degree felony charge, the Times reported. The two face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, officials said.

Early on March 28, 2019, deputies tried to pull Ambler over after he did not turn off his high beams when faced with oncoming traffic, officials said. He continued to drive for 20 minutes and crashed in downtown Austin, where deputies tased him multiple times.

Ambler repeatedly urged them to stop, mentioning his congestive heart failure and saying “I can’t breathe.” A deputy responded, “Do what we’re asking you to do,” the video shows.

Ambler was taken in an ambulance to Dell Seton Medical Center in Auston, Texas, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 2:30 a.m., the Times reported.

“As you can tell by the indictment, what we’re after are video and audio recordings, obviously based out of the television show ‘Live PD’,” Shawn Dick, the Williamson County district attorney, told reporters, according to the Times.

Chody was released on bond Monday, and said that the case against him was motivated by political reasons and to cover up their own mistakes regarding the case, the Times reported. (RELATED: Texas Sheriff Rips Anti-Police Movement As ‘Anti-America’)

“This was not my first run-in with District Attorney Shawn Dick,” he said in a news conference after he posted bail, according to the NYT.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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