WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A Texas sheriff is facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence in relation to a March 2019 in-custody death that was recorded during a taping of the A&E reality show “Live P.D.”
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was indicted and arrested Monday on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence in connection to the death of Javier Ambler.
Chody was booked in the Williamson County Jail and bonded out on Monday with a $10,000 bond.
The charge comes after months of calls for Chody to resign following the in-custody death of Ambler, which was recorded during a taping of “Live P.D.” The chase that ended in Javier Ambler’s death was never aired on television and all footage from the scene was destroyed.
The third-degree felony indictment, from the 277th District Court in Williamson County, claims belief that Chody acted to “destroy, or conceal a record, document, or thing; namely, video recordings and audio recordings, with intent to impair their availability as evidence in the investigation.”
Jason Nassour, general counsel for the county, has also been indicted on the same charges related to the Ambler case.
The death of Ambler happened back in March 2019, when WCSO deputies pursued Ambler on a chase after he reportedly failed to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic. The chase led all the way into Austin at around 1:30 a.m.
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said initial findings in the investigations show that Ambler notified officers he had a congenital heart defect before he was tased four times. In body camera footage from Austin Police Department — who also responded to the scene — Ambler can be heard saying, “I have congestive heart failure,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Moore said in June that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office “stonewalled” the county’s investigation into the death.
“For the last year, (Williamson County Sheriff’s Office) has stonewalled our investigation,” Moore wrote on Twitter. “What should have been a routine traffic stop ended with Javier’s death,” Moore said.
WCSO responded to Moore’s claims by saying any attempts to slow or impede the investigation are “absolutely false.”
The Javier Ambler video
The existence of the missing video is all because of WCSO’s involvement in the now-canceled A&E law enforcement reality program, “Live P.D.“
According to the show’s production company, Big Fish Entertainment, the show contract stated that the company could destroy any un-used footage within 30 days of filming.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick said, “To say that this footage does or doesn’t exist — we have no idea. Only the sheriff’s office and ‘Live PD’ truly know whether it exists.”
In June, Chody denied accusations of a cover-up and claimed that the investigation was “motivated by politics.”
NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report