Another video showing the tragic death of a black man in police custody has emerged online, this time in Austin, Texas. In the footage, first reported by CNN, the man can clearly being heard telling officers he can’t breathe and informing them about a heart condition before his death.
According to a sheriff’s department incident report, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were trying to arrest Javier Ambler, 48, just after 1 a.m. on March 28, 2019 after he failed to dim his car’s headlights as he drove past a deputy, and then tried to flee, CNN reports.
Ambler can be heard in the video saying tearfully that he has “congestive heart failure” while kneeling on the ground as officers tried to handcuff him. He is tased by officers, which is seen on video. He is also heard complaining, “I can’t breathe.”
The 48-year-old later became unresponsive during the arrest and officers begin administering CPR as medical units are called to the scene.
Travis County’s District Attorney’s office is reportedly leading an investigation into the matter, according to CNN, which was handled jointly by the Austin Police Department and the William County Sheriff’s Office. No Austin police officers, who responded to the scene after the sheriffs had arrived, are reportedly under investigation and it was unclear whether any sheriff’s deputies would be charged. A statement from the William County Sheriff’s Office indicated that an internal review had cleared the deputy of wrongdoing.
“After reviewing the video evidence, OPS concludes the primary deputy ‘JJ’ Johnson and assisting deputies acted in accordance with the guidelines set in the WCSO policy and used objective reasonableness in the level of force used. OPS also recommends the chain of command review the use of force and complete RMS Response to Resistance module, in accordance to WSCO policy,” reads the statement obtained by CNN.
District Attorney Margaret Moore told CNN that the William County Sheriff’s Office has not yet complied with efforts to investigate the matter.
“We have determined that we need to take it to a grand jury,” said Moore. “This case has been so unusual. It is not typical for us to encounter obstacles to getting evidence especially from another law enforcement agency.”
“It’s important, in today’s climate with the heightened response to officer-involved incidents, that the public know we are prosecuting this case, are taking it to the grand jury and we will do everything within our power to see that justice is done here,” she added.
News of Ambler’s death comes as protests over the death of another black man in police custody, George Floyd, have rocked the nation after footage of Floyd’s death revealed that a white officer had knelt on his neck for several minutes while Floyd pleads for medical attention.
You can watch the video here: