Williamson County Sheriff, Robert Chody, Arrested
(TX) – Sheriff Chody, of Williamson County, has been arrested for the felony crime of Tampering with Evidence. The charge is the result of an investigation into the death of Javier Ambler, the obstruction of the investigation by the Travis County District Attorney (the county Ambler was in when he was killed), and the destruction of video of the incident.
Police Brutality Encouraged
Williamson County Sheriff’s Office had been a participant in the “Live PD” show and allowed their camera crews to ride along with officers. This proved to be a problem. It appears to have encouraged upper management to feel that their officers should perform in a manner referred to as “WilCo badass” and even to go so far as offer rewards for excessive use of force by their officers. (See our article on this). This atmosphere of violence and showing off for the camera is highly likely to have contributed to the events that resulted in the death of Javier Ambler at the hands of Williamson County deputies.
Destruction of Evidence
When officers caused the death of Javier Ambler, a death which was the result of what was going to be a traffic stop for failing to dim his headlights, the obstruction and destruction of evidence began. Officers chased Ambler into neighboring Travis County where he was repeatedly tased even though he told them he had congestive heart failure. The whole incident was recorded by the Live PD camera man. According to USA Today, “Former Williamson County general counsel Jason Nassour, who was also at the scene of the March 2019 incident, also was indicted on a felony evidence tampering charge.”
According to KXAN,
“Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said in June that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office “stonewalled” the county’s investigation into the death.”
Sheriff Chody has denied stonewalling but aggressively fought requests for the release of information, and the video of the death, until he was required, by the Texas Attorney General, to release the information. Worse than that, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office had signed a contract with Live PD saying they could destroy any unused film after 30 days. The company, for obvious reasons, didn’t air the footage of Javier Ambler being killed and supposedly destroyed the video. According to USA Today,
“Live PD” host Dan Abrams said in television interviews and in a post on his website that sheriff’s officials initially asked producers to preserve the video. Two months after Ambler’s death, Chody told them the investigation was completed. At that point, Abrams said, producers destroyed the video.
Apparently the Grand Jury felt that Sheriff Chody, with the aid of General Counsel Jason Nassour, intentionally 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.” They came to a verdict and indictments were issued. Sheriff Chody was arrested and booked into the Williamson County Jail. His bond was set at $10,000. No information has been given as to whether Jason Nassour has been arrested yet.