The family of a man shot and killed by an police officer two months ago has filed federal lawsuits against the officer and the city of Austin.
In the lawsuit, the family of 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. say Detective Charles Kleinert racially profiled Jackson and intentionally shot him in the back of the head after a brief chase.
Police say Jackson attempted to enter the Benchmark Bank along 35th Street on July 26, but was unable to because it had been robbed about eight hours prior and was still an active crime scene. Jackson walked away, but returned less than minute later, again attempting to open the locked door.
It was then a bank manager stepped outside and spoke with Jackson for a moment. Police say Jackson then provided the bank manager with false identification. That prompted the manager to tell Det. Charles Kleinert, the detective at the scene investigating the earlier, unrelated robbery, to step outside and speak with Jackson.
The lawsuit alleges that Kleinert approached Jackson with an angry disposition and wondered what Jackson, a black man, was doing in that neighborhood, one which is primarily white.
After about two minutes of talking, police say Jackson took off running.
According to the suit, Kleinert then “went into a state of rage” and pursued the 32-year-old, commandeering a civilian’s vehicle in the process.
Kleinert caught up with Jackson along 34th Street near Shoal Creek and the two ran onto the trail and beneath an overpass. Police said a struggle then ensued and Kleinert fired a single shot from his service weapon into the back of Jackson’s head, killing the 32-year-old.
A week after the shooting it was reported that Kleinert told investigators the shooting was an accident, but the family’s lawsuit said that claim is “obviously false.”
The family is seeking damages from the city and the detective.
The Austin Police Department’s investigation into the shooting has been completed and will now go before a Travis County grand jury. The current grand jury is scheduled to review the investigation sometime after Oct. 1.