AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Senate passed a House bill Thursday named in honor of Javier Ambler, and now it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature.
House Bill 54, also known as Javier Ambler’s Law, would ban Texas law enforcement agencies from participating in and contracting with reality television shows. The legislation initially passed the House in April.
State Rep. James Talarico, a Round Rock Democrat, introduced the legislation after Ambler died in police custody, as cameras for the show “Live PD” captured the encounter with Williamson County deputies in March 2019.
Talarico posted on Twitter that the Senate’s approval came on a special day, too. He wrote in a tweet Thursday that Ambler’s sister told him the “amazing news” happened on his son’s birthday.
It remains unclear whether the governor will ultimately sign the bill into law.
The Ambler footage never aired on the now-canceled A&E reality show, but the program frequently featured the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. During the agency’s time on the show, one man died, and another was seriously hurt after encounters with deputies. “Live PD” cameras were on scene both times.
In a previous interview with KXAN, Talarico said the presence of “Live PD” cameras negatively influenced how deputies acted.
“If you watch the video of Javier Ambler’s murder, you see officers much more aggressively than they otherwise would have if there wasn’t a reality TV crew following them around,” Talarico once told KXAN.
Robert Chody, the former Williamson County sheriff, and Jason Nassour, who worked for the county attorney, have both been indicted by two different grand juries over Ambler’s death and specifically what happened to video evidence of that arrest. The indictments charge Chody and Nassour with evidence tampering, a third-degree felony, accusing them of allowing the “Live PD” video to be destroyed.