I am trying to piece this together this one single incident… Tell me if you can.
There appears to be no dispute that Javier Ambler was killed due to the restraints and his heart condition. His warning of “I can’t breathe” was natural and spontaneous, as much as one might want to believe this is just all some sick conspiracy that will go away.
Mr. Ambler’s experience is not identical to George Floyd’s but certainly bears strong similarities. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the events and aftermath that I really want to find answers to.
Who is George Floyd, you ask? If you seriously did just ask that, there’s a court in Minneapolis that would love for you to serve on its jury.
It appears that Ambler initially fled a traffic stop and this led to a chase and made everyone significantly more high strung. Apparently, he crashed his car somewhere between four to five times before finally stopping.
According to the report, as there is no released video footage (but possibly additional body cam footage), Ambler was reluctant to get on the ground, and may have tried to stand and return to his car.
In the raw video, it does look like rather excessive restraint, especially if he is asking that they go easy because of his medical condition, and he does not appear to be threatening otherwise.
Yes, it is a crime to evade arrest and it can be dangerous to have your high beams on around other drivers, but the amount of force by which they detained him was too much, and the police caused the very thing they were trying to avoid, the death of an innocent driver whose poor decision to evade police only resulted in the destruction of his own life and property. Also note how after they realize he is dead, the sirens and yelling cease, as though someone yelled “Cut!”.
So why are we hearing about this now? Instead of last year when it happened?
Well… get ready for a web-like matrix of finger-pointing:
The Justice System
KVUE explains that because the chase started in Williamson County and ended in Austin, the Austin Police Department’s special investigation’s unit and the civil rights divisions of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office have been investigating.
There was a camera crew from A&E’s show Live PD accompanying some of the officers at the time. They have additional recorded footage of the incident. Surely they have shared this footage with the police? You would think and hope… but according to their spokesperson, they “learned that the investigation had concluded” and so they “no longer retained the unaired footage”.
They learned that the investigation had concluded? So the investigation is over?
Unfortunately, the Austin PD, the Williamson County’s sheriff’s office and the Travis County D.A office have made clear that the investigation is indeed ongoing. So how did A&E learn that it was concluded?
That is a question I have asked the head of both offices:
…a question that I wish would have been answered by either office’s statements. There is way too much confusion and way too little communication between the entities who should be working together on this. It should not take all of this noise to compel some basic follow-up. Instead, everyone is denying that they were contacted without presenting evidence that they did indeed correspond.
Don’t Defund the Police
Incidents like this can be rather disheartening, and they have encouraged a lot of people to repeat a certain mantra that does not well-encapsulate what the core message appears to be. If the core message is to better manage how police departments use funds, and to fund other things in addition to the police, instead of certain things you may have otherwise gotten for the department, then that is a great plan.
It was suggested that the police should no longer carry guns, which I would consider part of a bigger conversation about gun reform. Indeed, we are ultimately talking about police reform. “Reform the Police” has exactly as many syllables, and it is a statement that is harder to hijack by people who want to misrepresent the core message. Any sincere efforts to actually disband police forces and not replace them with a better police force is extremely dangerous, especially in these more vulnerable times. Not every police force requires dismantling. It is very possible to reform from within and without at the same time.