Two local civil rights groups – the Austin Police Accountability Coalition and the Peaceful Streets Project – gathered in front of City Hall this morning to protest Friday’s fatal officer-involved shooting.
Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert was investigating a bank robbery in north Austin when he encountered Larry Jackson Jr. What happened next isn’t clear, but Kleinert shot Jackson in the back of the neck after a brief chase. Jackson later died of his injuries.
Austin activist Debbie Russell spoke out against the police department’s quick defense of the detective’s actions before a full investigation had been done.
“I think we are actually in a position now with our police department where trust has worsened, and mistrust has deepened,” Russell said. “And I don’t know what we can do to fix that with our current chief in place.”
Russell also accused the APD of trying to slander Jackson by insinuating he was there to defraud the bank. Police have since stated Jackson had no connection with the robbery.
Antonio Buehler of the Peaceful Streets Project argues that APD has been too slow in releasing the details of the incident.
“The Austin Police Department keeps pushing forth this rhetoric that we should reserve judgment until all the facts have come out,” Buehler said. “But the reality is that they’re covering up the facts. It’s been four days now, and they still haven’t given us the full truth about what’s happened.”
Shavone Lovings works near City Hall, as an account manager at Silicon Laboratories. She expressed concern over a seeming increase in APD shootings.
“It seems to be happening so often now, and it’s ridiculous to me,” she said.
In the audio player above, Austin Chronicle investigative reporter Jordan Smith describes the incident and the state of the investigation. You can read her report on the shooting online.