Family to get $5 million settlement over Black motorist’s death

Family to get $5 million settlement over Black motorist’s death

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A Texas county approved a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit settlement Tuesday with the family of a man who sheriff’s deputies shocked with stun guns after a 2019 chase that was filmed by the real-time police TV series “Live PD.” Commissioners in suburban Williamson County, just north of Austin, authorized the settlement with the family of Javier Ambler, a Black man whose car deputies chased  after trying to pull him over for allegedly failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic.

Javier Ambler

Ambler, a former postal worker, died after deputies repeatedly used stun guns on him, despite his pleas that he was sick and couldn’t breathe, according to police body camera video and a June 2020 report by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV.

The two former deputies are awaiting trial on manslaughter charges and the county’s former sheriff, Robert Chody, was indicted on evidence tampering charges in the case. All have denied wrongdoing.

Body camera footage showed Ambler telling the deputies he was not resisting and that he could not breathe because of heart problems.

In a statement posted to its Twitter account, Williamson County said the county would pay approximately $1.5 million of the settlement with the remainder being covered by the county’s insurance.

Attorneys for Ambler’s family said in a statement they hoped the settlement would send “a powerful message to law enforcement that ignoring a person’s pleas that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated.”

“Live PD” was canceled by the A&E Network last year. A&E has said its video never aired because of a policy against showing a death.

CBS Austin reports that earlier this year, after Ambler’s death, “The Javier Ambler Law” was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The law prevents law enforcement agencies from contracting with reality TV shows.

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