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Mother of Javier Ambler’s sons: ‘Your children do not mean more than my children’

Bre Gamble gives an impassioned plea for justice while talking about the deathof her son's father, Javier Ambler, who died after a 2019 encounter with police in Austin, Texas.
Bre Gamble gives an impassioned plea for justice while talking about the deathof her son's father, Javier Ambler, who died after a 2019 encounter with police in Austin, Texas. (CNN)

Almost 15 months after Javier Ambler, a black man, died while being arrested, his ex-partner and the mother of two of his sons has a message for law enforcement and the world.

"You cannot go about this like this anymore," Bre Gamble said. "We need justice, we need equality. And we need solidarity. What's hard about that?"

"I can't breathe," Ambler can be heard saying repeatedly on body camera footage of the March 2019 incident, released this week.

He tells the Williamson County, Texas, sheriff's deputies: "I am not resisting," and "I have congestive heart failure."

Her sons, Gamble says, are now added to the numbers of those left without a parent by such encounters.

"The state of Texas has allowed Williamson County to go on like this for so long, and they have made my children statistics now," Gamble told CNN's Erin Burnett.

Ambler's son Deavion Gamble said he sees the world differently now. He can't see a white officer in a uniform the same way, or a white Honda Pilot, the car his father was driving the day he died.

"This takes a mental toll on anybody, he said, breaking down, one that "I don't wish on nobody."

Ambler was a good father, Gamble said.

"He's always been there for us, he's always been there for these boys," she said. "He was the glue."

And even after the two split up, the relationship remained a "great" one with "no drama," she said.

In the early hours of March 28, 2019, a Williamson County deputy tried to stop Ambler when he failed to dim his car's headlights as he drove past, according to a Williamson County sheriff's office incident report.

But Ambler didn't stop, continuing on for 22 minutes with the deputy pursuing him, authorities said.

The chase ended when his Honda Pilot crashed with a grove of trees, according to the death report.

Ambler got out of his car with his hands raised, but resisted attempts to handcuff him and refused to follow commands, a Williamson County Sheriff's Office report says. At least one deputy used a Taser on him, the report says.

‘They took his last breath’

About two minutes after the video first records Ambler saying he has heart failure -- and nearly 90 seconds after he's first heard saying he can't breathe -- deputies appear to have handcuffed him.

Less than 30 seconds after he's handcuffed, officers appear to realize Ambler is unresponsive. An officer is heard saying so in a radio request for emergency medical services.

After officers check for a pulse and find none, Ambler's handcuffs are removed, and officers can be heard administering CPR until medical units arrive.

"You know, they took his last breath," Gamble said. "He was in distress, clearly, his face, his voice."

Heart failure

The cause of Ambler's death was congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, "in combination with forcible restraint," according to the custodial death report from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The manner of death was homicide, the custodial death report stated.

Ambler's parents told CNN his obesity would have made it difficult for him to follow the arresting officer's orders, such as putting his hand behind his back to be handcuffed.

Deavion spoke of the pain of graduating without his father there, and his mother spoke of her sons' struggles since Ambler's death: one still can't sleep. Deavion struggled with school.

"He's entering life, they're going to enter life. They have no father to call when they need advice ... your children can still pick up the phone and speak with you," his mother said.

“Your children do not mean more than my children,” she said.