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Williamson County settles Javier Ambler lawsuit for $5 million

A mural of Javier Ambler at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress Avenue.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Portrait artist Devon Clarkson painted a mural of Javier Ambler at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress Avenue in October 2020.

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Williamson County has agreed to a settlement of $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Javier Ambler II.

Ambler's family filed the case in October 2020 against the county for his death in March 2019 while in the custody of Williamson County Sheriff's deputies.

County commissioners unanimously approved the settlement at their meeting Tuesday. The county will be paying $1.6 million, and the rest will be paid by the county's insurance.

In March 2019, Williamson County deputies pursued Ambler, a 40-year-old Black man, for 22 minutes for failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic. When they caught him, they tasered him as he said he couldn't breathe, and he died shortly after.

His death was filmed for the reality television show "Live PD," which had a contract with the sheriff's office at the time.

Attorneys for Ambler's family released a statement Wednesday in light of the settlement.

"While the Ambler family remains devastated by the loss of their son and loving father, they are proud that they fought for him and hope that this settlement and the changes that have occurred in Williamson County, Texas, as a result of this case send a powerful message to law enforcement that ignoring a person’s pleas that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated,” the statement said.

A number of former Williamson County officials have been charged in this case, including former Sheriff Robert Chody and former general counsel for the Williamson County Attorney’s Office Jason Nassour. They were both charged with evidence tampering.

Two former sheriff's deputies, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, were indicted and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Ambler.

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Allyson Ortegon is a former Williamson County reporter for KUT.
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