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Williamson County settles for $5 million in wrongful death lawsuit of Javier Ambler

According to the County, it will pay approximately $1.6 million of the $5 million, with the remainder paid by the County's insurance.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — Williamson County officials have settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of Javier Ambler II for $5 million, KVUE's Tony Plohetski confirmed. It is thought to be the largest settlement in county history. 

According to the County, it will pay approximately $1.6 million of the $5 million settlement, with the remainder paid by the County's insurance.

On Wednesday, the attorneys for the Ambler family released the following statement:

"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 news of the settlement came as two former Williamson County Sheriff's Office deputies appeared in court Tuesday afternoon for a hearing on their charges of manslaughter in connection with Ambler's death. According to KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski, Tuesday's hearing will address what the destruction of the "Live PD" video capturing Ambler's death means for Camden and Johnson's case. For more information on Camden and Johnson's hearing, click here.

RELATED: Former Williamson County deputies indicted in Javier Ambler case to appear in court Tuesday

Background on the Ambler case

Javier Ambler died in March 2019 after Williamson County deputies chased him in a pursuit that started when he failed to dim his headlights. During the 22-minute pursuit, Ambler struck several stationary objects before crossing into Travis County, where his car became disabled in North Austin.

Zach Camden arrived on the scene, and the two deputies used Tasers on Ambler multiple times as he shouted that he had congestive heart failure and could not breathe.

Ambler's death received little public attention until June 2020 when the KVUE Defenders and Austin American-Statesman obtained records in the case and body camera footage from an Austin police officer who did not participate in the pursuit but who responded to a call to help the deputies.

KVUE and the Statesman had begun looking into the case in February 2020, but the Williamson County Sheriff's Office declined to release any information. In late May, the Texas Attorney General's Office told the sheriff's office that it had no legal standing to withhold the records.

Within days of details of Ambler's death becoming public, "Live PD" confirmed it had deleted its footage of Ambler's death and Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick opened an evidence-tampering investigation. In September 2020, a Williamson County grand jury indicted Chody and the County's general counsel, Jason Nassour, on tampering charges.

KVUE reported in March 2021 that prosecutors in Travis County, where Ambler's death happened, had said they were considering similar charges against Camden and Johnson for alleged actions they took on the night of Ambler's death.

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