It was a "make or break" day for state prosecutors at the federal courthouse, as they try to prevent their manslaughter case against a former APD detective from being thrown out.
Former APD Detective Charles Kleinert returned to federal court Thursday to admit no wrong-doing, but he did have regret.
Kleinert told Judge Lee Yeakel that if he had known his confrontation with Larry Jackson two years ago would end in Jackson's death, he “would not have gone to work that day.”
On June 26, 2013, Larry Jackson went to a north Austin bank to allegedly cash a stolen check. Earlier in the day, that same bank had been robbed and Kleinert was there investigating the case as a member of a federal task force.
Prosecutors argued Thursday that Kleinert's decision to chase Jackson, when he ran away, was not necessary or proper and that his actions ran contrary to APD's pursuit policy. Kleinert responded by testifying that he believed “the tactics used to apprehend Mr. Jackson were appropriate.”
That includes trying to force Jackson to the ground by hitting him on the back with the same hand he was holding his gun. The gun went off during the struggle and Jackson was killed.
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.
A trial will still take place, as Jackson’s family has hired attorney Adam Loewy and filed a civil lawsuit
"You can’t have a functioning system when there is an act like this, where a man is killed this way, and then somehow its dismissed, it never goes before a jury. That’s the kind of stuff you see in third world countries, China that will quietly dismiss something like this," said Loewy. "The American system of justice is a jury trial, it is so important, it's in the constitution. The founding fathers put it in there for a reason, because the community needs to see what happened, and so even though it’s taking a long time, we will get there.”
Much of what was heard Thursday may play a bigger role in the civil trial. While the judge said he wanted to hear the opinions from the prosecution's police experts, he also warned that those opinions have marginal value in helping him determine the question of immunity.