Roy Wood decorated his car for the Pushing for Justice Caravan for Javier Ambler on Aug. 15. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
After a 22-minute chase that ended with Ambler crashing his car in Austin, the WCSO, who were no longer in their jurisdiction, used taser stun guns on Ambler even after he informed deputies he had a heart condition and could not breathe.
His death was ruled a “justifiable homicide” and all of it was filmed by “Live PD,” a documentary series on the A&E Network that follows law enforcement officers live in the course of their nighttime patrols.
“I feel like until we start making examples and making changes this will continue to be a habit,” said Ambler-Jones, Ambler’s sister and only sibling. “There are so many stories that are not known nationally—you only hear about the George Floyds, the Breonna Taylors—but this is happening everywhere. This is happening daily and that is what is sickening.”
She added that until examples are made of the deputies whose job is to serve and protect, deaths in police custody will continue to happen.
Ambler-Jones called for the jailing of the officers involved in her brother’s death as well as the resignation of WCSO Sheriff Robert Chody, who she said only cared about being on television.
“To be a sheriff or any type of leader you have to show integrity, and he hasn’t shown me or my family that he has integrity,” she said. “[The deputies] chose to harm my brother until the point where they took his life for a TV show. Sheriff Chody doesn’t want to be a sheriff, he wants to be a movie star.”
Following a loss in a re-election bid, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore announced in late July that she would not bring Ambler’s case before a grand jury as she previously said she would.
Ambler-Jones said while saddened by the delay, she will not let her brother’s death go in vain and will continue to fight for him and others with similar stories until “justice is served.”
At the event—named Pushing for Justice Caravan for Javier Ambler—community members decorated their cars and drove in a caravan to help keep Ambler’s story at the forefront, Ambler-Jones said. Local elected officials also spoke at the event on their desire to bring forth new legislation to address issues of systemic racism in law enforcement.
Texas State Representative James Talarico, who represents Round Rock, Hutto and Taylor, called on the sheriff to join the movement and help to “dismantle this system of violence.”
“Help build something new, something better, something rooted in love, because if we can expect protestors to be nonviolent than surely, surely we can expect our government to be nonviolent,” he said.
Other attending local officials included Texas State Representative Celia Israel, who represents parts of North Austin and Pflugerville; and Texas State Representative John Bucy, who represents North Austin, Leander and Cedar Park; among others.
Community member and attendee Roy Woody said he went to school with both Ambler and Ambler-Jones. He said he attended the event because after watching the video of Ambler’s death, he believed the deputies needed to be held accountable.
As she decorated her car with the phrase “No Justice, No Peace,” attendee and Georgetown resident Raven Nicholetto said she made it to the event because she was proud that the issue of systemic racism was seen as more than just an Austin issue to be addressed, but one that is also in Williamson County.
“I’m glad we’re not just relegating this as an Austin problem but doing something of our own,” she said.
Ambler-Jones promised to hold monthly “Justice for Javier” events until she felt justice was served.
“I feel like God’s putting me in this position to make change for the nation, not just in Williamson County [and] not just for the Ambler family,” she said.