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Deputies indicted in death of former Central Texas high school football player

Javier Ambler,40, died after deputies repeatedly used a stun gun on him after a traffic chase.
Javier Ambler,40, died after deputies repeatedly used a stun gun on him after a traffic chase.(Courtesy Photo)
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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GEORGETOWN, Texas (KWTX)-Two Williamson County sheriff’s deputies have been indicted in the death of former Killeen high school football player Javier Ambler,40, who died after a chase in March 2019 that was filmed for the reality TV series “Live PD,” prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Deputies James Johnson and Zachary Camden are both charged with manslaughter.

Bond was set at $150,000 each.

Police video and documents showed deputies used a stun gun on Ambler at least four times, despite multiple pleas that he couldn’t breathe following a chase that started in Williamson County after he failed to dim his headlights and ended 22 minutes later in Austin.

Ambler, the son of an Army veteran, wasn’t armed and wasn’t intoxicated.

The former postal worker became unresponsive several minutes into the arrest.

Deputies administered CPR until paramedics arrived.

Ambler, according to the results of an autopsy, died of “congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint.”

The Texas attorney general’s office declared his death a possibly justifiable homicide.

The arrest was recorded by a crew from the popular A&E Network show “Live PD” and there were questions about whether the presence of the show’s cameras impacted the outcome.

Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, who was defeated by Democrat Mike Gleason in November 2020, was named in an indictment in September 2020 charging tampering with evidence stemming from an investigation into the death.

The indictment alleges Chody destroyed or concealed video in Ambler’s death.

Chody, who turned himself in, was released after posting a $10,000 bond, online records showed.

In October 2020, Ambler’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

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