Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto Edition - December 2020


April A complaint led by a Georgetown lawyer alleges that Deaton told deputies it was his goal for one of them to have sex with a producer of “Live PD.”

“Live PD” rst lmed in Williamson County in 2018. Here is a look at key events involving the county, the show and pending litigation.





July 16 “Live PD” contract ends.

Oct. 28 “Live PD” rst airs on A&E Network.

Jan. 2 Robert Chody takes oce as county sheri.

Nov. 20 An agreement is drafted with Big Fish Entertainment LLC, which produces the show, and Williamson County Sheri’s Oce to lm “Live PD.”

Jan. 1 Bill Gravell takes oce as county judge.

Jan. 8 Chody presents the “Live PD” contract to the Commissioners Court, but a vote is postponed for further questions. Jan. 16 Commissioners agree to contract with Big Fish Entertainment and “Live PD” for six months.

March 28 Javier Ambler dies while in WCSO custody. “Live PD” lmed but did not air the incident.

May 7 The “Live PD” contract renewal appears on commissioners’ agenda. May 21 Commissioners vote 3-2 to allow the WCSO to continue lming “Live PD.”

phone records obtained by Community Impact News- paper . Gravell saidwhile hewas informed of a death in custody that morning, he did not know “Live PD” was present nor the name Javier Ambler until the incident was reported on by local news outlets in June 2020. In May 2019, less than two months after Ambler’s death, Gravell’s oce put the “Live PD” contract back on the court’s agenda at the request of the WCSO. However, he said it is standard protocol for the judge or a commissioner to sponsor an item to be placed on the agenda. Gravell has since recused himself on all matters relating to “Live PD” and Ambler, including the com- missioners contract lawsuit.

On the charges brought against him, Chody has claimed the district attorney has no actual proof of evidence tampering. Instead, he said in an Oct. 7 tweet that the district attorney only had evidence in relation to Chody’s contract dispute with the com- missioners and had issued the indictment as a politi- cal move against his campaign, as his re-election bid was six weeks away. Chody’s Twitter account has since been deactivated. Dick said the accusationwas untrue as his teamhad yet to turn over its discovery to Chody’s attorneys. “We didn’t choose this timing,” Dick said during a Sept. 28 news conference. “This incident happened a long time ago; the Williamson County District Attor- ney’s Oce was just notied in May of 2020 of the death. That led us to start an investigation, and we’ve done that diligently as rapidly as we could.” When asked for an update on the lawsuit following the election results, Chody’s attorney in the matter, GerryMorris, had no comment. Chody denied several requests for comment on the subject. How it got here When Chody rst pitched the idea of bringing “Live PD” to the county to commissioners in Jan- uary 2018, he argued its benets would include heightened transparency between law enforcement and the community—something he championed— increased recruiting and an opportunity to display Williamson County in a positive light. “Time and time again, [the WCSO] hears about transparency issues,” Chody said during a Jan. 9, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting. “How much more transparent can we get than willing to be on


across the country for Black Lives Matter, a move- ment that was reignited after the death of Minneapo- lis resident George Floyd, who died in police custody and was also Black. On the night of Ambler’s death, “Live PD”was pres- ent and recorded but did not air the incident. At the time, there was no court-approved contract in place. That recording has since been deleted by “Live PD” due to a clause in the contract that called for the destruction of any unused footage after 30 days. That night, Chody also called Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell at least six times between 2:21 a.m. and 11:10 a.m., totaling nine minutes, according to

“Obviously a death in custody is a serious matter, but it happened in Travis County jurisdiction, so I knew there would be good investi- gative measures put in place,” Grav- ell said. “But I didn’t know ‘Live PD’ was there at the time, and I didn’t know who Javier Ambler was until June of [2020].” The events from the night of Ambler’s death and those that may have occurred after led a grand jury to indict Chody and Assistant Williamson County Attorney Jason Nassour on Sept. 25. The oense of evidence tampering is a third-de- gree felony, which carries a pun- ishment range of two to 10 years in state prison or probation and up to a $10,000 ne, documents said.


Below is Williamson County’s budget for all legal fees and the amount paid each scal year.

County’s budget for all legal fees

Amount spent

FY 2015-16



FY 2016-17




FY 2017-18


FY 2018-19




FY 2019-20



FY 2020-21


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