Family of black man who was repeatedly tasered while being filmed for cop reality TV show 'Live PD' files wrongful death lawsuit claiming officers used excessive force 'to make more entertaining television'

 The family of a black man who was killed in police custody while being filmed for a cop reality TV show last year is suing a Texas county over his death, claiming officers used 

Javier Ambler, 40, died in March 2019 after he was chased by Williamson County sheriff's deputies for failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic. 

The deputies pursued the father-of-two for 22 minutes into downtown Austin in a police chase that was captured on camera for an episode of A&E network's Live PD. 

Javier Ambler, 40, died in police custody in Austin last year while TV show Live PD was filming

Javier Ambler, 40, died in police custody in Austin last year while TV show Live PD was filming

His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Sunday claiming the Williamson County sheriff's office prioritized 'exciting content' over the health and safety of citizens. It comes after Sheriff Robert Chody (pictured) was accused of destroying video evidence relating to the investigation

His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Sunday claiming the Williamson County sheriff's office prioritized 'exciting content' over the health and safety of citizens. It comes after Sheriff Robert Chody (pictured) was accused of destroying video evidence relating to the investigation

He was tasered multiple times during the encounter and was heard telling cops he couldn't breathe before losing consciousness, body camera footage showed.  

He was pronounced dead an hour later.    

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed in the Western District of Texas on Sunday, Ambler's parents claim cops had used excessive force during their son's arrest to 'produce more "entertaining" content' for the show. 

The complaint, obtained by DailyMail.com, also accuses Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody of encouraging officers to engage in 'dangerous' police tactics for the sake of exciting television, and rewarding officers 'who had "good" uses of force"'. 

'If Live PD producers considered a department "boring," its activities would not be broadcast. Thus, Chody prioritized producing "exciting" content for Live PD over the health and safety of the County's citizens,' the complaint states.

The lawsuit comes nearly a month after Chody was indicted on charges of destroying or concealing video in an investigation into Ambler's death.

Prosecutors in Austin have also separately launched an investigation into the use of force during the fatal police stop.  

A&E has said its video never aired because of a policy against showing a death, and it did not keep the footage after it was informed that the initial investigation had closed. 

An autopsy revealed that Ambler died in a homicide with congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease linked with morbid obesity 'in combination with forcible restraint'
Ambler in a Facebook photo

An autopsy revealed that Ambler died in a homicide with congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease linked with morbid obesity 'in combination with forcible restraint'

Body camera footage released in June showed Ambler telling deputies 'I can't breathe' and that he has congestive heart failure as they deploy Tasers on him four times

Body camera footage released in June showed Ambler telling deputies 'I can't breathe' and that he has congestive heart failure as they deploy Tasers on him four times 

Deputies performed CPR on Ambler (pictured) until medical personnel arrived later and took over. He died at hour later

Deputies performed CPR on Ambler (pictured) until medical personnel arrived later and took over. He died at hour later 

According to the lawsuit, police departments have the authority to 'veto' any content that they do not wish to air on Live PD.

The family however claims Chody was not against broadcasting this incident 'because it was exactly the type of content that [he] hoped to create' for the show. 

The complaint also includes earlier claims from two former employees of the sheriff's office who said leaders had rewarded them with steakhouse gift cards when they used force on the job. 

'Officers who received gift cards were also awarded the title "WilCo Badass". This practice encouraged officers to use force more frequently, to "win" more gift cards, to be "WilCo Badass," and to appear on Live PD,' the suit states.   

'One of the rare Williamson County officers who was asked to resign after he used excessive force expressed surprise, saying that he thought his use of force would have earned him a gift card rather than a requested resignation.'   

The complaint also notes how police chases in Williamson County had increased by 54 per cent in the year that Live PD began partnering with the department. 

And approximately 60 per cent of those pursuits began due to a trivial traffic infraction, like failing to signal, expired license plates, or failure to dim headlights, according to the lawsuit. 

'Sheriff Chody seeks social media and TV exposure like a moth to a light bulb – and he's flown out of his job description to get back on TV,' the complaint states. 

Chody is accused of encouraging offices to use dangerous tactics for the sake 'exciting' television, the wrongful death lawsuit claims. The complaint points to a number of tweets Chody has posted promoting the now-canceled show

Chody is accused of encouraging offices to use dangerous tactics for the sake 'exciting' television, the wrongful death lawsuit claims. The complaint points to a number of tweets Chody has posted promoting the now-canceled show

Chody was indicted by a Williamson County grand jury in September on felony evidence-tampering charge in connection to Ambler's fatal arrest. 

He was booked into his jail on a $10,000 bond and released a short time later. The third-degree felony charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

The booking photo posted by the jail shows Chody wearing a suit and a smile, standing in front of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office logo. 

He is accused of illegally destroying raw video and audio recordings of Ambler' arrest captured during the filming of the show. 

According to court documents, Chody destroyed the recordings 'with the intent to impair their availability as evidence in the investigation.'

A grand jury last month indicted Chody on charges accusing him of destroying or concealing video in an investigation into the death in custody of Ambler

A grand jury last month indicted Chody on charges accusing him of destroying or concealing video in an investigation into the death in custody of Ambler 

Jeff Edwards, an attorney for the Ambler family, released a statement last month saying the alleged destruction of evidence is behind the 'slow pace of justice in this case.'

'It seems the Sheriff was more interested in being part of a reality television program and providing entertaining video content than protecting the lives of Black citizens he was sworn to protect,' the statement read. 

'If true, such shameful behavior by a law enforcement leader is striking evidence that there needs to be a sweeping, systematic overhaul of our system of policing.'

Police body camera video of Ambler's death shows the gasping 400lb-man telling the deputies that he wants to comply with their demands but that he can´t because he has congestive heart failure.

'I am not resisting,' Ambler cries. 'Sir, I can't breathe. ... Please. ... Please.'

The sheriff's arrest came three months after county prosecutors announced an investigation 'involving possible tampering with evidence' in the Ambler case. 

A death-in-custody report filed with the Texas attorney general's office said Ambler was not violent with deputies, did not attempt to escape, threaten them or try to obtain their weapons at any point during the incident. 

Investigators with the Williamson County sheriff's department of internal affairs determined that deputies Johnson and Camden didn’t violate pursuit or use-of-force policies. 

Their report doesn’t indicate whether the deputies were disciplined or forced to take leave.

A&E has said its video never aired because of a policy against showing a death. It is not named as a defendant in the suit.  

Ambler's death was ruled a homicide, according to the report made to the state attorney general's office, which noted it could have been 'justifiable.'

An autopsy revealed he died of congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity 'in combination with forcible restraint.'

Chody, who is seeking a second term, stayed in law enforcement even after he and his wife won a $51 million Texas Lottery jackpot in 2001.

Family of black man who was repeatedly tasered while being filmed for cop reality TV show 'Live PD' files wrongful death lawsuit claiming officers used excessive force 'to make more entertaining television' Family of black man who was repeatedly tasered while being filmed for cop reality TV show 'Live PD' files wrongful death lawsuit claiming officers used excessive force 'to make more entertaining television' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:52 Rating: 5

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