Police Association, NAACP speak out over settlement


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT GUEST


Posted on February 11, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 9:57 PM

AUSTIN -- A possible settlement is in the works between Austin and the children of a man killed by a police detective. Attorneys for both sides have been negotiating for months.

Last July, now-retired detective Charles Kleinhert went to a North Austin bank to investigate an unrelated robbery. Larry Jackson Jr. showed up and began acting suspiciously. Kleinert chased him, and after a struggle, Kleinert's gun went off, striking Jackson in the back of the neck.

The revelation that there could be a settlement offer caught quite a few people, including some in the Austin Police Association, by surprise.

Now they're speaking out on whether the city's move to offer money to Jackson's children, ages 9, 10 and 12, is a good idea.

Kenneth Casaday is a spokesman for the Austin Police Association.

"The Police Association is, to say the least, a little miffed by it,” Casaday said.

The case is still under investigation by the Travis County District Attorney’s office and could be presented to a grand jury sometime in February.

While the amount hasn't been disclosed, Casaday says if the city gives the family money now, it could hurt Kleinhert's future chances in civil and criminal court.

“It opens Pandora's box for the detective,” Casaday said. “The officer has rights, too, and by talking about a settlement and possibly tainting the jury pool in our opinion this is possibly violating the rights of Officer Kleinhert."

But Nelson Linder, President of Austin's NAACP, sees the situation differently.

“The city knows, number one, it can't defend this,” Linder said.  “They understand that. So, they're trying to cut their losses, and they should.”

Linder said he believes offering a settlement to the family not only shows the city's sympathy for Jackson's children, but it could also protect it from other lawsuits in the long run.

“This is one of those terrible cases where there's no defense. An officer used poor tactics, and it cost a man his life. As a result it would be humane to settle this case and not go further," Linder said.

The city council is expected to discuss the proposed financial package during their meeting on Thursday.