Texas: Infamous Sheriff Indicted for Destroying Evidence in Javier Ambler’s Murder

By Brian Martel

On September 28, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was indicted for tampering with evidence involved in the killing of Javier Ambler. An investigation found that Chody was involved in the destruction of records which documented deputies James Johnson and Zach Camden tasing Ambler to death.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has a reputation for its especially brutal practices, even among law enforcement. It was recently revealed that the agency even rewarded use of force with gift cards. Since appearing on the reality TV show ‘Live PD,’ a number of extreme use of force cases have surfaced around the Sheriff’s Office, notably the killing of Javier Ambler by restraining and tasing him.

Footage of Ambler’s death was captured by both Live PD and the body camera of one of the two deputies responsible. The body camera footage surfaced in June, only two days after Live PD was canceled.

Live PD said their footage was never requested by any law enforcement agency, and they destroyed the footage when the Sheriff’s Office told them the internal investigation was concluded.

Also charged with destroying evidence is Williamson County assistant attorney Jason Nassour, who represented Chody when the county chose to terminate their contract with Live PD. Nassour also represented Jason Dusterhoft’s appeal to return to work after termination for multiple cases of sexual and physical abuse of women, where Nassour questioned the ability of APD to impose “moral superiority over the officer’s, for a lack of better terms, sexual deviance.”

Sheriff Chody’s involvement in racist violence goes back to his early days in law enforcement. In 1998, then Austin Police Department officer Chody was called to an East Austin neighborhood where he brutalized innocent 15 year-old high school student Marcus DeWayne Frank, who happened to be near the scene. Chody grabbed the child without warning, put him in a headlock, and slammed him against the hood of his patrol car. He then threw Frank to the ground, causing him to have a seizure.

Frank’s mother sued Chody, in response to which he argued that the force he applied was objectively reasonable. The settlement was paid out by the city of Austin with no repercussions for Chody.

In 2001, while Chody was still an APD officer, he won $85 million in the lottery. Soon after this, he quit his position at APD, becoming a Williamson County constable and eventually running for sheriff.

Showing the preferential treatment he has always afforded himself, he was allowed to take his “mugshot” in a full suit, in front of the sheriff’s seal. Chody has denied the charges against him and claims that the findings are a political fabrication timed with the upcoming elections. The sheriff says he plans to remain in his position despite the indictment.

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