Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto Edition - December 2020

WHO’S WHO? There are several Williamson County players surrounding the “Live PD” controversy. Here is who you need to know.

There are two main lawsuits surrounding Williamson County Sheri Robert Chody and “Live PD.” A TALE OF TWO CASES

Williamson County Commissioners Court v. Robert Chody Chody entered a contract with Big Fish Entertainment to lm “Live PD” without commissioners’ consent

State of Texas v. Robert Chody

What are they arguing?

Chody tampered with evidence in the Javier Ambler death case

BILL GRAVELL county judge

TERRY COOK Precinct 1 commissioner

CYNTHIA LONG Precinct 2 commissioner

VALERIE COVEY Precinct 3 commissioner


Williamson County’s four commissioners against

Chody and Jason Nassour against District Attorney Shawn Dick on behalf of the state

Who is involved?

Chody and Big Fish Entertainment LLC

When did this lawsuit begin?

RUSS BOLES Precinct 4 commissioner

SHAWN DICK district attorney

DEE HOBBS county attorney

JASONNASSOUR Williamson County Attorney’s Oce general counsel

JAVIER AMBLER Williamson County resident who died in WCSO custody

Commissioners voted to sue Chody on May 19

Chody was indicted by a grand jury Sept. 25

Commissioners said Nov. 10 they are in talks with Chody’s lawyers to drop the case; however, the lawsuit was still pending as of press time


The DA’s oce and defense attorneys will meet Jan. 4 to discuss submitted motions

Current status

STEVE DEATON WCSO commander MIKE GLEASON incoming county sheri

“LIVE PD” A live documentary series that follows law- enforcement ocers during nighttime patrols

The rst, which began in May, is between the sher- i and the four county commissioners after the court learned Chody had entered into a written contract with Big Fish Entertainment LLC, which produces “Live PD,” to allow lming of the show in the county. By law, only the court has ultimate authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the county, accord- ing to the Texas Association of Counties. In doing so, Chody sidestepped the court’s author- ity, which commissioners said they feared would lead to other elected ocials attempting something similar if the court did not re-establish precedent. Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles said he believed the sheri was obsessed with being on TV. “In his pursuit of personal fame, he illegally con- tracted with ‘Live PD’ and may have exposed the county to massive liability,” Boles said during an Oct. 5 commissioner meeting. “There is no question about it: The county has incurred substantial legal fees because of him, to get him to stop.” On Nov. 10, the court dropped its similar

lawsuit against Big Fish Entertainment, which in turn dropped its countersuit against the county. On that date, Boles said the court was in negotia- tion with Chody on making a similar deal, but as of print that had not been nalized. Chody and his attorney for this case, Eric Taube, denied several requests for comment on the lawsuit. The second major lawsuit ties Chody to the death- in-custody case of Javier Ambler for evidence tam- pering. This is headed by Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick. In March 2019, Ambler engaged in a 22-minute car chase with WCSO deputies after failing to dim his headlights to oncoming trac, documents show. The pursuit continued into Travis County where Ambler ultimately crashed his vehicle and then was tased four times by WCSO deputies before becoming unre- sponsive, county documents said. News of Ambler, a Black man, spread 15 months later in June 2020 when protests were breaking out CONTINUED ON 26


dismissed; one is a notice of claim led; three are TCOLE complaints; and 12 remain pending. But ocials said they anticipate other lawsuits con- nected to “Live PD” to present themselves as there is a two-year statute of limitations. “We’re not out of the woods yet,” said incoming Williamson County Sheri Mike Gleason, who will be sworn in on Jan. 1. “We’ll still be facing lawsuits into my rst term, long after he’s left. So there will be a continued nancial impact on the county as far as lawsuits.” The total of other “Live PD” costs, such as ocer overtime pay, storage for equipment and set up, was not immediately available at the time of print follow- ing a Texas Public Information Act request by Com- munity Impact Newspaper . Double trouble For the latter half of 2020, two major lawsuits have been led against Chody.

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