New Video Evidence Shows Deaths Of Two Black Men In Police Custody Last Year

PMH

Both men pled medical distress, saying, “I can’t breathe.” No officers involved have faced criminal charges.

New video evidence sheds additional light on two 2019 cases of a black man’s death in police custody. One case is from Texas, reported on by KVUE; the other case is from Oklahoma, reported on by KTUL.

  • Javier Ambler died in Williamson County police custody just outside Austin, Texas on March 28, 2019. Because the incident occurred near Austin, inside Travis County, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office has been investigating the event but reports being “stonewalled” by the police department.
  • The Texas Attorney General recently ordered Williamson County police to release some material related to the incident. An internal affairs report is now publicly accessible, and KVUE has also released a video seemingly portraying body cam footage.
  • Police from Williamson County chased 40-year-old Javier Ambler for 22 minutes after noticing he was not dimming his headlights for oncoming traffic. Ambler crashed his vehicle five times before finally stopping in Travis County, outside Austin.
  • When Ambler did not comply with instructions to get on his knees, officers tased him. When he appeared to attempt to stand, officers tased him again. This continued until they were able to begin handcuffing him.
  • While being handcuffed, Ambler told officers that he had a heart condition and said, more than once, “I can’t breathe.”
  • Ambler soon fell unconscious, and officers performed CPR until medics arrived about four minutes later. Ambler died at Dell Seton Medical Center at 2:37 AM.
  • According to a report filed with the Texas Attorney General's office, Medical examiners listed Ambler’s cause of death as congestive heart failure associated with morbid obesity “in combination with forcible restraint.”
  • Also notable is that according to the internal affairs report, a camera crew from the cable show Live PD was riding with one of the deputies who encountered Ambler. Live PD has not yet released any of their video from the incident.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said in a June 3 interview that she intends to bring Ambler’s case before a grand jury. She was troubled by the lack of cooperation from both Williamson County and Live PD, as well as by the deputy’s decision to persist in a 22-minute chase when the traffic infraction was minor.

Moore said,

It is of very serious concern to any of us who are in law enforcement that the decision to engage in that chase was driven by more of a need to provide entertainment than to keep Williamson County citizens safe

Oklahoma City police released footage related to Derrick Scott’s May 2019 arrest in response to demands from Black Lives Matter.

  • According to KTUL’s video report, police arrived on the scene because of reports that “someone with a gun was causing problems.”
  • When officers arrived on the scene, Scott fled and they gave chase. Officers were able to restrain Scott after a chase and altercation and discovered a handgun in his waistband.
  • Officers began to handcuff Scott and instructed him to “stop resisting now.” Scott expressed that he had been smoking PCP and was having difficulty breathing. He said, “I can’t breathe.”
  • The officers continued to restrain him. When he falls unconscious, officers check his pulse and attempt to rouse him, and he does seem to regain consciousness.
  • After medics arrived, they brought Scott into an ambulance and began performing CPR. Scott later died at the hospital.

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