‘I did not tamper with evidence’: Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody speaks on indictment charges

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody (center) with his attorney, Gerry Morris, maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody (center) with his attorney, Gerry Morris, maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody (center) with his attorney, Gerry Morris, maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case.

“Let me be very clear: I did not tamper with evidence,” Chody said.

The charges stem from a report that video evidence of the death of Amber was destroyed. Ambler, a Black man, died in the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office's custody in March 2019 following a police chase after he neglected to dim his high beams to oncoming traffic.

The incident concluded in Travis County after Ambler crashed his car, and officers used Taser stun guns on Ambler even after he informed deputies he had a heart condition and could not breathe, according to an internal affairs investigation report.

Chody said the charges brought against him were part of a ploy conducted by Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore to ruin his chances for re-election.


Chody will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot against candidate Mike Gleason.

“DA Shawn Dick is pushing and misleading stories while pursuing false prosecution,” Chody said. “I find it shocking and disgusting that our district attorney uses his office for political agenda.”

Dick, who also held a news conference with Moore on Sept. 28, said he had no influence over the timing of the indictment. Instead, Dick said he began to prosecute the case after learning of the incident in May. After months of bringing the case and 19 witnesses before the grand jury, which he said takes time, the indictment was passed down Sept. 25.

Chody added he has no intention of resigning or taking a leave of absence while the case continues to trial.

“I look forward, look forward to prevailing in the election, be exonerated of these false charges, and continue to protect and serve the people of Williamson County,” Chody said. “I am proud to be the sheriff of Williamson County.”

Chody's attorney, Gerry Morris, said he is ready to fight the charges brought against his client, adding the case is only being brought forward following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, an incident that set off a series of protests across the country.

"When the heat was on, they had to blame somebody, so Sheriff Cody is a scapegoat; that's what this case is about," Morris said.

In response to the indictment being brought forth by a grand jury and not by Dick or Moore themselves, Morris said the district attorney can control what evidence and witnesses are presented to the grand jury. During the trial, the defense can offer its side.

"The old adage is you can indict a ham sandwich," Morris said. "It's easy to get someone indicted."

The trial against Chody is expected to begin Nov. 30, officials said.
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Here is what you need to know about coronavirus in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 61 new cases of COVID-19, 1 death to daily count

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County.

Even though Williamson County was lowered to a coronavirus spread risk of “minimal” on Oct. 26, masks are still required. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Masks are still required in Williamson County

Even though Williamson County was lowered to a coronavirus spread risk level of “minimal” on Oct. 26, masks are still required.

The business announced the closure on Facebook on Oct. 27. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Red Poppy Coffee inside the Georgetown Library closes

The business announced the closure on Facebook on Oct. 27.

Customers can order Goodstock Angus and Goodstock Black Label beef, including ribeye steaks, strip steaks, filets and ground chuck. (Courtesy Nolan Ryan brands)
Nolan Ryan expands Round Rock-based butcher business and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the State of Texas and the Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment after initially denying the agreement in July. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County Commissioners overturn decision on ending contract for law enforcement equipment

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the State of Texas and the Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment after initially denying the agreement in July.

The Garden at the Summit plans to open in summer 2021. (Courtesy The Garden at the Summit)
New Italian restaurant coming to Georgetown plus more business news

Fredrickson Health Solutions, a noninvasive and natural pain solutions business, also opened in Georgetown.

Here is what you need to know today about the coronavirus in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County coronavirus spread risk drops to ‘minimal’

Here is what you need to know today about the coronavirus in Williamson County.

More than half of Williamson County eligible voters have already cast their ballot ahead of the November election. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than half of Williamson County eligible voters have cast their ballot ahead of the November election

The county surpassed the total number of early voters in 2016 on Oct. 22.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 47 new cases of the coronavirus Oct. 23

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County add 26 confirmed cases of coronavirus Oct. 22

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Williamson County.