Charges against Charles Kleinert have been dropped

Image 1 of 3


Charges against former Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert have been dropped. The Austin Police Association has confirmed that the case will not go to trial.

According to the Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting Motion to Dismiss signed by District Judge Lee Yeakel.

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.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg released the following statement...

I am totally dismayed by today’s federal court action dismissing the Charles Kleinert prosecution.

A Travis County Grand Jury spent considerable time reviewing this case and indicted Charles Kleinert for manslaughter.  With this federal court action dismissing the case, it appears that an Austin Police Department officer can be assigned to a federal task force and avoid prosecution in state court.

We will review the federal court’s opinion and determine what steps we can take, if any, in the near future.  For now, we will have no further comment.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo had this to say...

The Austin Police Department respects the courts ruling and the rule of law. Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this tragic incident and their families.

I have reached out to community leaders and have shared the aforementioned thoughts on this matter. I know Austin citizens have been aware of the possibility of this judicial ruling in the criminal case, and we have had many conversations about it in the community. I hope all parties will continue a productive dialogue.

On June 26, 2013 Charles Kleinert was investigating a North Austin bank robbery. Kleinert is seen questioning Larry Jackson in video caught by bank security camera video. Jackson allegedly went to the bank to cash a stolen check.

The two are seen casually speaking with one another, but after few minutes, Jackson runs off with Kleinert in pursuit.

Kleinert eventually caught up with Jackson under a bridge along a walking trail. In court, he re-enacted what he claims took place. There was a brief struggle, Kleinert told the Judge, in which Jackson tried to scramble up a hill, and he struck him twice in the back using a tactic known as a Hammer Fist.

He did the move with his right hand while holding his gun. As he tried a third blow, Kleinert claims Jackson spun up, knocking them both to the ground, and his gun went off as they fell.

The family of Larry Jackson believes he was executed. While they want the criminal case to go to trial, they are also pursuing civil action against Kleinert.

Defense attorneys claim because Kleinert was acting as a special agent for the FBI, he has federal immunity and the manslaughter charge against him should be dismissed.