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Texas deputies indicted over Javier Ambler’s death

The indictments charge the former deputies who were present at the time of Javier Ambler’s death
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:39 AM CDT
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TRAVIS COUNTY, TX. (KGNS) -The Travis County Grand Jury handed up two indictments, one each for two former Williamson County Deputies involved in the in-custody death of Javier Ambler II in March of 2019.

The indictments charge former Deputies James Johnson and Zachary Camden who were present at the time of Ambler’s Death.

Body camera video from the incident shows the moment Javier Ambler was taken into custody.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza explained the grand jury considered charges as serious as murder in the Javier Ambler case.

But instead, they moved forward manslaughter, which requires proof of reckless behavior leading to death.

Jennifer Laurin teaches at the University of Texas School of Law and co-authored a book on police misconduct.

Laurin says, “There is starting to be seen a shift among the public... Toward taking a skeptical view or more critical view of what police do.”

She says it’s natural we’ll start to see more officers facing criminal charges in use-of-force cases.

Particularly locally, as the new DA has made it policy to bring all of these cases before a grand jury instead of pre-screening them.

Ambler’s father says he’s grateful the DA is serious about pursuing justice saying, “The goal has always been to hold these officers accountable so that there are no more families who have to suffer like ours has.”

However, defense attorneys argue neither deputy is “Morally” or “Legally responsible” for ambler’s death.

They want the case to go immediately to trial instead blaming Ambler’s heart disease and his attempts to evade and resist arrest.

Laurin says, “I believed that I would be killed, I believed that a partner would be killed, I believed that an innocent bystander would be killed. It’s that question of justification that frequently is what’s at issue.”

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