WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — On Monday, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody called on Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore to bring the Texas Rangers into the investigation of a man who died while in police custody in 2019.
Last week, the Travis County DA called the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office uncooperative in the investigation. Sheriff Chody denies the claim.
Javier Ambler died in March 2019 after a 22 minute chase that started in Williamson County and ended in north Austin.
The chase started because Ambler failed to dim his headlights. The DA says a stun gun was used on him four times after he told deputies he had heart problems. He can also be heard on camera saying he can’t breathe.
Police camera video of the incident was released last week.
In a statement, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said the Ambler case will be presented to a grand jury as soon as possible. She said she is fully committed to seeking justice and answering all questions for Mr. Ambler’s family.
I think the common misconception is that these cases are easy to resolve and should be immediately presented to a grand jury. While I agree that the public is entitled to swift action and transparency to ensure justice for all sides, we have to make sure there is a thorough investigation into the facts of each case we receive. Sometimes this involves subpoenaing lab reports, phone records, ballistic reports, medical records, and other documents that are crucial to the case. It takes time to get these items from outside sources. To ensure the process is fair, we have to be able to anticipate the kinds of information the grand juries will want to know before we take a case before them. This is the same process that takes place in all felony cases.”Travis County DA Margaret Moore statement
WCSO also released a statement Monday afternoon saying it cannot comment on the ongoing criminal investigation, but has a timeline for its cooperation.
We began cooperating with APD investigators on the day of the incident itself, March 28, 2019. We responded to numerous requests over the first few days of the investigation, and by mid-April of 2019, APD took possession of all video related to the incident (e.g., body camera footage and car footage). In July and August, APD sent a few follow up requests. The last time we had any contact with APD investigators on this incident was a Williamson County initiated contact in October of 2019. At no point in this process did the Travis County D.A. reach out to our department directly.WCSO statement
We have not commented publicly on this case because we are not the investigating authority. As a department, we remain ready to cooperate with the investigation in any way.