The shooting death of Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. has resulted in a call from the Austin Police Association for an independent investigation: Not into the shooting itself, but into who leaked a statement from the officer that killed him saying the death was accidental.
Jackson was killed on July 26 after being shot by APD Det. Charles Kleinart. In the days following his death, details about detective Kleinart’s testimony to internal affairs investigators were released to members of the media. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association, said the leaks are unacceptable.
“They are a violation of the law and it tears at the thread of decency and professional standards,” said Vincent. “We want sworn affidavits, cell phone records, and anything else deemed necessary in an effort to find why it was so important for someone with privileged information to peddle a story to only selected individuals.”
Jackson was shot a single time in the back of neck after a brief chase. According to leaked details of Kleinart’s statement to a room of investigators, the bullet that killed Jackson was fired accidentally.
Vincent says the investigation is likely to start with the people who were present for Kleinart’s testimony, but ultimately declined to comment on any specific suspect.
“We are not jumping to any conclusions,” said Vincent. “There are a number of our officers who feel it came from the police monitor’s office; in other words, everyone’s got somebody that they suspect in this. However, we as leaders cannot jump to any conclusions or point any fingers.”
Vincent ultimately called for Austin City Manager Marc Ott to appoint an independent organization to investigate the source of the leak. Ott announced this week that he had asked the Department of Justice to investigate APD’s use-of-force policies.