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Javier Ambler's family to receive $5 million settlement in wrongful death lawsuit, Texas county says 

Attorneys for Ambler's family said they hoped the settlement would send "a message that ignoring a person’s pleas that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated."

A Texas county has reached a $5 million settlement with the family of Javier Ambler, a 40-year-old Black man who died during an arrest in 2019 after warning authorities he could not breathe, officials have said.

In a statement posted to its official Twitter account, Williamson County in Texas said the settlement had been approved by the county's Commissioners Court.

“The County will pay approx. $1.6 million with the remainder paid by the County’s insurance,” it said. 

Ambler died on March 28, 2019, following a car chase that began after the 40-year-old failed to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic, according to a police report.

Williamson County deputies, who were accompanied by a reality television camera crew during the chase, pursued Ambler for more than 20 minutes in a chase that began in Williamson County and ended in the nearby city of Austin.

Javier Ambler, 40, died during a 2019 arrest after warning authorities he could not breathe.Facebook

Once they apprehended Ambler, authorities restrained him, tasing the 40-year-old several times, as body camera footage previously released by Austin police and seen by NBC News showed.

Video also showed Ambler warning authorities that he could not breathe.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Ambler's family last year, alleging that sheriff's deputies had launched a reckless pursuit to produce entertaining television for "Live PD."

In a Twitter statement on Tuesday, Edwards Law, the firm representing Ambler's family, said they had "reached a settlement that sends a message that ignoring a person’s pleas that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated."

In a separate statement to the Austin American-Statesman, lawyer Jeff Edwards also said that "while the Ambler family remains devastated by the loss of their son and loving father, they are proud that they fought for him."

According to the newspaper, the settlement must be paid out in 14 days, with Ambler's two children to receive $1.5 million each and his parents to receive $1 million each.

In March, a grand jury indicted former Williamson County Deputies James Johnson and Zachary Camden on charges of second-degree manslaughter over Ambler’s death. 

At the time, attorneys for Johnson and Camden denied that their clients were responsible for his death.

They also pushed back against characterizations that Ambler had been pulled over for failing to dim his headlights, asserting he was pursued for a "felony offense of evading arrest in a vehicle."

Ambler's manner of death was declared a homicide, according to a custodial death report filed with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. The report said he died of congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint.