The U.S. Department of Justice has denied Austin City Manager Marc Ott’s request for an investigation into the Austin Police Department’s use-of-force policies—a request which came just days after an unarmed black male was killed in a controversial police shooting.
Citing recommendations implemented after a separate, previous investigation into APD practices, the Justice Department said it feels the city of Austin is capable of conducting its own investigation.
Ott said he was grateful for the Department of Justice’s consideration and said he has directed Police Chief Art Acevedo to conduct an internal investigation “to determine if our tactics are consistent with our policies.”
However, the Department of Justice has extended its Community Relations Service to the city of Austin, another request made by Ott. The CRS helps communities diffuse conflicts and growing tension, especially racial in nature.
The recent controversy over APD’s use-of-force policies stem from the officer-involved shooting death of 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. on July 26.
Police say Jackson had attempted to enter the Benchmark Bank along 35th Street, but was unable to because it had been robbed about eight hours prior and was still an active crime scene. Jackson walked away, but returned less than minute later, again attempting to open the locked door.
It was then a bank manager stepped outside and spoke with Jackson for a moment. Police say Jackson then provided the bank manager with false identification. That prompted the manager to tell Det. Charles Kleinert, the detective at the scene investigating the earlier, unrelated robbery, to step outside and speak with Jackson.
After about two minutes of talking, police say Jackson took off running. Kleinert followed and commandeered a civilian’s vehicle to assist in the chase.
Kleinert caught up with Jackson along 34th Street near Shoal Creek and the two ran onto the trail and beneath an overpass. Police said a struggle then ensued and Kleinert fired a single shot from his service weapon, killing the 32-year-old.