Footage emerges of another black man screaming 'I can't breathe' during arrest before his death

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Thursday 11 June 2020 08:30
news
(Twitter)

Another video has been released that shows the fatal arrest of a black man who told police officers “I can’t breathe,” before he died.

If it feels like this happens a lot – that’s because it does. Racism is fatal but now it is also caught on camera.

What happened to Javier Ambler?

Javier Ambler, 40, originally died in March 2019 after fleeing a traffic stop from officers in Williamson County, Texas.

But bodycam footage of the events leading up to his death was only released on Monday.

The video shows Ambler already on the ground, although the official Williamson County Sheriff’s report said he exited his car with his hands raised.

They also claim he refused to follow commands, a similar statement that was made about George Floyd before being disproved by witnesses and video evidence.

In the video taken of Ambler’s fatal arrest, he is tasered several times and pinned to the floor.

Around two minutes in, he says “I have congestive heart failure,” and “I can’t breathe,” which he repeats several times.

He also says, “Save me” and “I’m not resisting,” as officers insist he is and tase him for a fourth time.

After he’s handcuffed, Ambler becomes limp and unresponsive – but it takes officers at least 30 seconds to realise.

They administer CPR but it’s too late.

Ambler was reportedly taken to hospital and pronounced dead, less than an hour after he was stopped by police.

What is going on with the investigation into Javier Ambler’s death?

An initial internal investigation in the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office determined the officers involved “did not violate the agency's pursuit or use-of-force policies”.

His death was ruled a homicide by the state attorney general.

Margaret Moore, district attorney for Travis County, said her office is still investigating the death – a process that has dragged on for an excruciating 15 months.

Moore said she would be presenting Ambler’s case to a grand jury and that officials in the Williamson County Sheriff's Office haven’t cooperated with her investigation, which is why bodycam footage is only being released now.

"This case has been so unusual. It is not typical for us to encounter obstacles to getting evidence, especially from another law enforcement agency," Moore told CNN.

During the course of the investigation it also emerged that Ambler’s death was filmed by a TV crew who were recording footage for a cop show, A&E’s Live PD.

The show has been cancelled after producers admitted they filmed – and allegedly destroyed – footage of Ambler’s death.

The recording could have been key evidence for investigators.

There are now calls for the Williamson County Sheriff, Robert Chody, to resign.

“I have no confidence that he has the temperament, operational intelligence, administrative ability nor the people skills to handle the job,” said Commissioner Terri Cook, one of three out of four Williamson County Commissioners who’ve called on Chody to step down from the top job.

This week, Ambler’s grieving father called for justice. In an interview on Tuesday, while holding back tears, Ambler Sr said:

He's my buddy. I'm sorry, I'm not as tough as his mom. I'm tough on certain things, but I'm not tough when it comes to my boy. 

He's my only son. We go fishing together. When it was Thanksgiving, we looked forward to him being here because he was the one that graced the table. 

Everything has changed since he was taken from us.

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