A Travis County grand jury is indicting a now-retired Austin Police detective in the shooting death of Larry Eugene Jackson Jr.
Detective Charles Kleinert is reported to have said that his gun discharged accidently in a struggle with Jackson in July 2013. As KUT reported at the time:
Brian Manley, assistant chief at APD, says the incident began as a detective was inside the Benchmark Bank at 1508 W. 35th Street, investigating a robbery that occurred at 8:19 A.M. Friday. The subject came to the front door and tried to open it, but the door was locked, Manley said.
"The subject walked away for a minute and then came back to the front door and attempted to open the door again … At this point, he got the attention of the bank management staff that was inside."
A bank manager went outside to talk to the man, and the man "identified himself in a manner in which the bank manager recognized was not an accurate identification," Manly said.
The manager went back into the bank and told the detective what just happened. The detective went outside and had a two to three minute conversation with the person, Manley said. It was captured on the bank surveillance video.
"The individual, for unknown reasons, got up and took off running," Manley said. The detective chased him on foot, caught up with him under a bridge on Shoal Creek. They got into a physical struggle, during which the detective shot the man and killed him.
A subsequent leak of testimony to internal affairs revealed Kleinert's claim the shooting was accidental. Jackson's killing sparked outcry among Austinites arguing that police use deadly force disproportionately against African-Americans.
The attorney for Jackson’s family, Adam Loewy, says they’re pleased with the decision to indict.
"This is a very big step on the road to justice and I am personally very happy that this man, Charles Kleinert, will face criminal repercussions for what he did, because when he shot Larry Jackson, Jr., that was a criminal act," he says.
Loewy has previously won settlements in two of three other lawsuits against the city over deadly shootings by Austin Police officers.