Austin city manager invites DOJ to review APD policy



Posted on August 5, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:14 AM

AUSTIN -- Austin City Manager Marc Ott issued a statement Monday afternoon regarding an officer involved shooting in July. The city manager has asked the United States Department of Justice to look at city policies and procedures for the Austin police department's use of force.

In the Monday afternoon news conference Ott said, "Our objectives here is to have Austin be one of the most livable cities in the country. It's an opportunity to make sure we are in alignment."

Ott says it would be an objective party that would meet with community leaders to get a sense of  how the police department is performing.

The announcement comes days after police say they interviewed a possible witness to the July shooting on Thursday.

Assistant Police Chief Brian Manley addressed the media on July 29, days after the shooting.

Police were investigating after a robbery at the Benchmark Bank when Larry Eugene Jackson knocked on the door, Manley said. A bank employee answered and alerted officers of suspicious activity.
When Detective Charles Kleinert tried to question him, he ran off. The detective caught up with him and shot Jackson during a struggle under a nearby bridge.

Officers say an altercation began and the officer's service weapon was discharged. Police say they do not yet have specifics about the struggle that ensued.

Kleinert claims he accidentally shot Jackson in the back of the neck.

APD says right now there is no audio, video or witnesses to the shooting, but now the department is launching an investigation to figure out if someone inside the department leaked details to the public.

Manley says Kleinert gave his statement as part of the administrative investigation. He is compelled to tell the truth about what happened and supposed to be protected under his garity right to ensure the information won't be used against him in criminal portion of the investigation.

In the city manager's news conference Monday, Manley said Chief Art Acevedo and the department welcome the DOJ's review as they had in 2007 after a request in 2005.

"We welcome the review by the DOJ. The DOJ came in 2007 for a review of the department, we worked together collaboratively. They [DOJ] made suggestions for practices, we implemented most of them. We are an organization that welcomes an opportunity to improve ourselves. The review will only allow us to become a better organization to serve our community. The Chief welcomes the review."

Chief Acevedo issued a statement on Twitter Monday saying, "I welcome the transparency a review of APD by DOJ brings. Transparency breeds trust, trust breeds cooperation, & cooperation breeds safety!"

Manley says they are still searching for the suspect from the ealier robbery at Benchmark Bank.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell issued the following statment Monday:

"I have discussed with the City Manager his decision to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to review the Austin Police Department's policies and practices and I am very supportive.  I believe we have the finest police force in the country and this step should not be seen as a lack of confidence in APD or Chief Acevedo.  As I have said, any loss of life is a tragedy and any efforts we can take to facilitate healing, trust and confidence within the community are steps well taken.  I also believe this decision will be constructive for APD and our City."

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