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Two More Lawsuits Filed Against Williamson County Sheriff's Department For Its Use Of Force

Williamson County Sheriff's Office
Michael Minasi

Two more people have filed lawsuits against the Williamson County Sheriff's Department claiming deputies used excessive force during a traffic stop and arrest.

One lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Midland resident Ramsey Mitchell claims deputies assaulted Mitchell in June 2019 following a traffic stop for not having a front license plate.

A statement from Mitchell’s attorneys said he was punched, kicked and tased by deputies multiple times, and that he was put in a chokehold before being rendered unconscious. The incident was captured on camera for the now-canceled reality television show “Live PD.”

“Ramsey suffered a fractured eye socket requiring reconstructive surgery, fractured jaw, fractured nose, concussion, two broken teeth, two damaged vertebrae in his spine, torn elbow ligament, and a busted ear drum,” the statement said.

Blerim Elmazi, one of Mitchell's attorneys, said his office has asked for body camera footage from deputies of the incident but has not received it.

The lawsuit includes claims against Williamson County; former Sheriff Robert Chody; “Live PD” producers Big Fish Entertainment; the A&E Network, which aired the show; and five deputies.

Two of the deputies named in the lawsuit were indicted by a Travis County grand jury in March. The former deputies, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, were charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Javier Ambler.

Ambler was also pulled over by deputies for a traffic violation in 2019. Deputies tasered him as he said he couldn't breathe, and he died shortly after.

The other lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday, claims that in May 2019, under Chody’s direction, around 10 deputies broke down the front and back doors of Gary Watsky's Cedar Park home to arrest his son Asher Watsky for an assault charge.

The suit states the deputies entered without a warrant “yelling, guns pointing, then engaging in a search of the premises including with a K9 dog.”

The document alleges the arrest was done to play to the cameras. It states "Live PD" filmed the arrest in the home even though Asher Watsky had been in a courthouse earlier that day and could have been arrested at that time.

The lawsuit was filed against Williamson County, Chody, deputies and other sheriff’s department staff.

Watsky’s lawyers have not responded to requests for comment.

Chody received multiple indictments from both Williamson and Travis counties last year. He was indicted by grand juries in both counties for evidence tampering charges relating to Ambler’s case.

Chody’s lawyer, Gerry Morris, has not responded to a request for comment.

Allyson Ortegon is a former Williamson County reporter for KUT.
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