WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — The hit A&E television show "Live PD" has only been filming in Williamson County for a few years, but those few years have been marked by controversy.
On June 8, the show was thrust back in the spotlight after footage was released involving the arrest and subsequent death of Javier Ambler last year in the custody of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office (WCSO). Ambler's last moments were not just captured on an officer's body camera, all of this happened while "Live PD" appeared to be filming an episode.
Now, investigators are having a hard time getting the footage the show captured that night. Not even Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore can get her hands on the footage almost a year-and-a-half later.
She said the case hasn't moved forward because WCSO hasn't cooperated. She is also troubled because "Live PD" was riding with the two deputies and it appears it could have captured what happened, but the footage never aired.
KVUE only received one body cam video from authorities, and producers for the show have not released any of the footage to investigators or given KVUE a comment.
Moore said if they do get the video, they'll be able to figure more out about what happened that night. Moore has also indicated she plans to take the case to a grand jury.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Robert Chody said he can't comment on the investigation since it is ongoing; however, he said the department did change its pursuit policy after this incident.
Here's is a brief history of the show's involvement in Williamson County:
"Live PD" filmed a separate arrest that is now being scrutinized for use of force from two of the same deputies involved in Javier Ambler's arrest.
"Live PD" host Dan Abrams posts a question-and-answer discussion on the show's cancellation and Ambler's death.
A&E, the network that runs, "Live PD," announced it is canceling the show.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD. Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments,” A&E said in a statement.
Moore released a statement, saying:
"The specific facts regarding the Live PD video and the attempts by the Austin Police Department and this Office to obtain the video are material to the ongoing investigation. We will have no further comment at this time."
Two Williamson County commissioners call for the resignation of Sheriff Chody.
WCSO also releases a statement about its cooperation in the investigation:
"While we cannot comment on the Ambler incident due to the ongoing investigation by the Travis County DA, we can correct misleading statements made by the Travis County DA. The Williamson County Sheriff's Department remains ready and willing to participate in the investigation being conducted by the Travis County DA's office. However, the Travis County DA has not contacted us for any reason related to this investigation. Any attempt to say we have slowed or otherwise impeded the investigation is absolutely false. We participated fully in the investigation launched by the Austin Police Department, the results of which have been forwarded to the Travis County DA. In terms of any 'Live PD' footage, as a department, we do not control that footage. However, I join the Travis County DA in requesting that 'Live PD' make any existing footage available for review by Travis County prosecutors."
Moore responded, saying she stands by her representations regarding the lack of cooperation by the WCSO with the Austin Police Department's Special Investigations Unit.
A&E, which airs "Live PD," denied reports producers were ever asked for footage or an interview by investigators. The network said it did not retain the unaired footage after learning the investigation had concluded.
KVUE airs a report revealing footage from the arrest of Javier Ambler for the first time.
The court files its lawsuit against Sheriff Chody over his new agreement with "Live PD."
The court votes to hire lawyers to look into legal action regarding Sheriff Chody's new agreement with the show.
The Williamson County Commissioners Court votes 4-0 to send a cease-and-desist letter to "Live PD" and its affiliates after the sheriff's office allowed a crew member to join a lieutenant in a patrol vehicle to film.
Sheriff Chody announces a new agreement means his deputies will be back on "Live PD," despite the commissioners court vote to sever ties with the show.
Sheriff Chody announces one of his deputies would be featured in a bonus episode of "Live PD."
A Change.org petition is created to help keep Williamson County involved with "Live PD."
The Williamson County District Attorney announces he is still working to get unaired footage from "Live PD" for use in criminal cases.
Williamson County commissioners vote to sever their contract with "Live PD."
The commissioners court approves its access agreement between the sheriff's office and Big Fish Entertainment LLC to continue shooting "Live PD" in the county.
After their contract expired, the commissioners court votes 3-2 to not end the contract with the show.
Williamson County deputies are fired for sending inappropriate text messages. Some of those messages included apparent comments about "Live PD."
A sheriff's commander is accused of urging his deputies to have sex with a "Live PD" producer.
The first episode of "Live PD" featuring the sheriff's office airs on A&E.
The commissioners court signs off on a plan allowing Sheriff Chody to negotiate a six-month deal to continue the show's filming in Williamson County.
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