An Austin, Texas police officer being investigated for his role in a fatal shooting retired Tuesday.
The officer, Detective Charles Kleinert, was being investigated by both the Austin Police Department and the Travis County District Attorney’s office for the July shooting of Larry Jackson.
But the Austin Police Department (APD) announced today that Kleinert’s retirement will effectively end their internal investigation.
“As a result of Detective Kleinert’s retirement, the APD internal administrative investigation will be closed. The criminal investigation remains pending with the Travis County district attorney’s office,” APD Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Unless the Travis County District Attorney’s investigation brings charges against Kleinert, he will be entitled to his full retirement pension.
The investigated incident happened in July of 2013. Kleinart was at Benchmark Bank in Austin investigating a robbery that occurred at the bank earlier that morning. Jackson allegedly pulled on the locked doors of the bank and then walked away, only to return and pull on the doors again moments later.
When a bank staff member talked to Jackson, he identified himself under the name of one of the bank's customers. The staff member knew that Jackson was not the man he was claiming to be, though, and called him out on it. At that point, Jackson ran away.
Kleinert saw Jackson run and got a ride from a passing car. He found Jackson under a nearby bridge and the men began to fight under the bridge. Kleinert shot Jackson in the back of the neck, killing him immediately. He reportedly told internal investigators that the shooting was accidental.
After Jackson’s death, his family filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against both Kleinert and the city of Austin. The lawsuit alleges that Kleinert used racial profiling in targeting Jackson, that he violated police pursuit policies, and that he used unnecessary force during their confrontation. The result of the lawsuit is pending per the district attorney’s investigation.
Kleinert’s attorney, Randy Leavitt, released a brief statement on Kleinert’s retirement today, saying Kleinert “has been honored to serve with APD for these many years and is proud of his accomplishments.
“The Kleinert family feels for the Jackson family for their loss, but is steadfast in his belief that he acted appropriately and looks forward to working with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office while they investigate this most unfortunate event.”