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Ruling in former Austin officer’s case could have national impact


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nsgJRAustin American Statesman:

Ruling in former Austin officer’s case could have national impact

By Tony Plohetski - American-Statesman Staff, KVUE News



Case is believed to be first in which local police officer obtained immunity by invoking federal law shield.

If ruling stands, case could shield hundreds of local and state police officers from excessive force charges

Former Austin police Detective Charles Kleinert fatally shot Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. in July 2013.


NEW ORLEANS — In a case that could have national implications for law enforcement officers, a former Austin police detective pressed in federal appeals court Tuesday to preserve a shield that is protecting him from prosecution on manslaughter charges in a controversial shooting.


The issue focuses on whether Charles Kleinert, who retired from the Austin Police Department after the July 2013 shooting, should continue receiving federal immunity in the death of Larry Jackson Jr. under a rarely cited constitutional provision — a potentially precedent-setting decision critics contend weakens the ability of local authorities to hold police accountable.


In oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for Kleinert argued that because Kleinert was serving on an FBI-led task force — and wasn’t acting in his role as a local law enforcement officer — at the time of the shooting, he isn’t subject to prosecution by the Travis County district attorney’s office. Scissors-32x32.png


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