On March 30, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced indictments by a Travis County grand jury against former Williamson County sheriff’s deputies James Johnson and Zachary Camden.
Each man has been charged with second degree manslaughter in the death of Javier Ambler in 2019. The court has set bail at $150,000 each man and prohibits them from employment with law enforcement agencies or security companies. Their charges will be prosecuted by the District Attorney Office’s Civil Rights Unit and is pending in the 299th Judicial District Court.
“With these indictments, we have taken another critical step towards justice for the Ambler family and for our community,” said Garza. “While we can never take away the pain of the Ambler family, the grand jury has sent a clear message that no one is above the law.”
In 2019, Ambler was pursued by Williamson County sheriff’s deputies when he failed to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic. The chase was recorded by production crews for Live PD, a reality show, and ended in Austin where Ambler died while in the custody of deputies.
The circumstances surrounding the death have been questioned and investigated. The incident was recorded but did not air on television. An officer's body cam footage was released in 2020.
“Some will inevitably seek to undermine the judgment of the grand jury in their own self-interest,” continued Garza. “A grand jury is an independent group of representatives of the community, sworn in to uphold their duties, and a critical part of society that enables the public to assess the evidence and participate in the
administration of justice. We thank the jury that rendered this decision for their service to justice.”
Tuesday’s indictment comes on heels of other legal news last week related to the case. On March 26, Big Fish Entertainment, which produced the now-canceled Live PD program, reportedly sued the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and Austin Police Department. The company alleged items such as illegal seizures and false claims.