Time.com, Oct. 30: ‘Judge Grants Texas Cop Immunity Over Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man’
“Manslaughter charges against a Texas cop who shot and killed an unarmed black man have been dropped by a federal judge, after he ruled that the police officer had federal immunity at the time because of his work with the FBI.
Charles Kleinert, a former Austin police detective who also worked for the FBI, killed 32-year-old Larry Jackson Jr. after shooting him in the neck following a chase in Texas on July 26, 2013. Kleinert was initially indicted on manslaughter charges by a Texas grand jury for the crime. However, on June 26, 2015, he filed a motion to dismiss the indictment.”
The article doesn’t get too much of the story right from then on, except for quoting a bit of District Judge Lee Yeakel’s Memorandum ‘Opinion’ and order to dismiss the case.
“Judge Yeakel ruled Thursday that Kleinert was protected by the supremacy clause in the Constitution, designed to defend federal officers from prosecution while on duty, and that Texas courts had no jurisdiction over his case. Texas prosecutors had initially stated that Kleinert was acting as an Austin police officer, not a federal officer, when he killed Jackson.
According to Austin’s local Fox affiliate TV station, the judge also said that the gunshot Kleinert fired, fatally wounding Jackson, was unintentional.”
Well, that last ‘opinion’ is some hooey, given the facts; but here’s some of the story as I tried to keep track of it starting last August, when KKKleinert had been indicted for manslaughter, not murder, as was clearly the case. Actually, it was an execution.
On July 26, 2013, police were investigating a robbery at the Benchmark Bank during business hours. When Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. tried to enter the bank, he discovered the doors were locked. As it turned out, Dicktective Kleinert was at the Austin bank reviewing camera footage after an earlier bank robbery. Jackson was reported to have given a false name to the bank manager when he was let in, and he may have had fake ID with him, which led to the supposition that he was there to cash a forged check. One story says that he left the bank then, but came back again later. Kleinert went outside, allegedly smelling a rat, and soon after a verbal confrontation with him, Jackson fled on foot. Apparently he ran after the after the ‘suspect’, but falling behind, he commandeered a citizen’s car in the process, identifying himself to the driver as APD, and telling her that Jackson posed no threat. When they spotted Larry under a nearby bridge, he exited the commandeered car, which left the scene. Under the bridge, Jackson and Kleinert ‘struggled’, and according to SocialistWorker.org, Kleinert:
“pursued Jackson and beat him, breaking his ribs and perforating his colon. He then placed his gun to the back of Larry’s neck and pulled the trigger.”
When Jackson’s autopsy results were finally released, they showed that he was on his knees when Kleinert shot him through the base of his skull, and the bullet exited his mouth. The cop’s gun muzzle left an impression on his neck.
Kleinert claimed that it was all a big accident, and that his gun discharged when he lost his balance and fell. Or some such nonsense.
You can hear the reporter’s coverage of Kleinert’s despicable boo-hooing in court here.
Jackson’s family filed a wrongful death suit, and in August of 2014, the city of Austin awarded his three children $1.25 million in what would likely be an admission that KKKleinert was guilty of murder. A second suit on behalf of Larry’s parents was still pending at the time.
But wait: Time didn’t report the best parts of the Judge’s ‘opinions’; I also found this:
“The court finds and concludes that the State has failed to provide any evidence that raises a genuine issue of fact that Kleinert’s belief in the propriety of his conduct was objectively unreasonable.
Jackson fled from Kleinert at the bank. After Kleinert caught up to Jackson, Jackson failed to comply with Kleinert’s oral commands, despite the fact that Kleinert had his firearm drawn and pointed at Jackson.
Kleinert, in a split-second decision, chased Jackson, caught up to Jackson, and the two engaged in a struggle. Despite Kleinert holding Jackson by the t-shirt, Jackson continued to resist.
As Kleinert had his weapon drawn, he could not holster his firearm without letting go of Jackson. Kleinert hit Jackson twice with two hammer-fist strikes while holding his firearm in the striking hand with his index finger on the slide of the handgun.”
Jackson did not submit. In a third attempt to run away, as Kleinert was about to hit Jackson a third time, Jackson spun around and turned into Kleinert.
At that moment Kleinert’s firearm discharged. It is uncontroverted that the gunshot was a “sympathetic discharge,” meaning that the gunshot was not an intentional discharge.”
Ah, yes; one other thing Time probably got right was this quote from Adam Loewy, the family’s attorney (via the Guardian):
“It is one of the most horrendous moments in the history of civil rights in this country.”
His family is planning to appeal the egregious decision. A manslaughter conviction could have earned Kleinert from two to twenty years in prison.
on edit, and in the ‘utterly predictable’ category: