A Texas sheriff has been arrested amid an investigation into the death of a Black man during the filming of a reality TV show about law enforcement.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was charged with tampering with evidence with intent to impair an investigation, according to court records. He was jailed Monday in the detention center his office oversees on $10,000 bond.
The Williamson County district attorney and Travis County district attorney started the investigation after the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE published stories about Ambler’s death and deleted footage by “Live PD,” the newspaper reported.
A Williamson County deputy chased Ambler for about 20 minutes until Ambler crashed near Austin after police tried to pull him over for failing to dim his headlights in March 2019, KVUE reported. A “Live PD” film crew was riding with the deputy.
The body camera footage from an Austin police officer obtained by KVUE shows the final moments of Ambler’s life. Ambler tells the arrested officers that he has congestive heart failure and cannot breathe as they handcuff him and appear to use Tasers, video shows.
In a joint statement in June, the district attorney’s offices said the investigation was a “search for the truth and is necessary because even now we have not obtained the information we seek from Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, despite his public statements pledging cooperation.”
In response to the June statement, Chody denied his office slowed the investigation or engaged in a cover-up in a Facebook post. Chody said he released the sheriff’s office footage of the incident to the Austin Police Department, which can provide access to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Dan Abrams, the host of “Live PD” and legal affairs correspondent for ABC News, said in a tweet that Ambler’s death was captured by the TV show cameras. He said the TV show was not asked for the footage and it was not retained after “learning that the investigation had concluded.”