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New lawsuit against Robert Chody, Williamson Co. deputies alleges excessive force in 2019 arrest

The lawsuit references data showing the Williamson County Sheriff's Office used more aggressive tactics while the "Live PD" cameras were rolling.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — A new lawsuit has been filed against former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and at least three former deputies alleging excessive force during a February 2019 incident.

In the lawsuit, Charles William Thornburg claims he was awakened by Williamson County deputies in the early morning of Feb. 24, 2019, telling him to go outside with his hands up in response to an alleged threat he made to his wife.

Thornburg alleges he was in his pajamas and unarmed when he went to the ground as instructed, before being attacked by a police dog and tasered. The lawsuit claims he suffered severe injuries from the incident.

Legal documents also reference data showing the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office began using aggressive tactics more often when the show “Live PD” started following deputies. Last year, two former Williamson County Sheriff’s Office employees said the agency awarded what officials considered “good” uses of force with steakhouse gift cards.

Thornburg is seeking punitive damages over the incident.

The lawsuit filed on Monday is the latest case made against Chody and his office. In January, another Williamson County resident filed a lawsuit alleging he broke his shoulder in an arrested sensationalized for “Live PD.”

For months, the KVUE Defenders have revealed cases of questionable use of force within the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, including Ambler's death and the no-knock raid on a man's home – shown on "Live PD" – hours after he sat peacefully in court.

After Ambler's death, Rep. James Talarico filed a bill in the Texas Legislature to ban police contracts with reality TV shows.

Voters elected, Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason in November as the county's first Democrat to hold countywide office in nearly 30 years.

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