A Texas county on Tuesday reached a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit settlement with the family of a Black motorist who died during an arrest after a car chase by sheriff’s deputies in 2019. According to CBS News, the deputies repeatedly discharged their stun guns at Javier Ambler despite repeatedly telling them that he couldn’t breathe.
The chase preceding Ambler’s death in the hands of the deputies was also filmed by “Live PD”, a real-time police TV series. The settlement with Ambler’s family was approved by commissioners in Williamson County. In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Williamson County said the County will pay approximately $1.6 million while the County’s insurance will pay the remainder.
The 20-minute chase ensued after deputies attempted pulling Ambler over because he allegedly failed to dim his car headlights to oncoming traffic. Ambler ultimately crashed his vehicle during the pursuit, per The New York Times.
But the deputies who confronted Ambler repeatedly shocked him with their stun guns despite the Black man telling them he wasn’t resisting arrest, and he couldn’t breathe because he had a heart problem, body camera footage showed.
In March, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced a grand jury had indicted two former Williamson County deputies on second-degree manslaughter charges in connection with Ambler’s death. Evidence tampering charges were also brought against the county’s former sheriff, Robert Chody.
“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,” attorneys for the Ambler family said in a statement in response to the settlement, CNN reported.
Though the encounter was filmed by “Live PD”, A&E Network said it never broadcast the video because of a policy that prohibits the airing of fatal incidents, CBS News reported. The cable network also pulled the reality show last year.
Following Ambler’s death, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed “The Javier Ambler Law” earlier this year. The law bars law enforcement agencies from signing deals with reality TV shows.