AUSTIN -- The family of a man shot and killed by an Austin Police Department detective is suing the officer and the city. KVUE News broke this story Tuesday night on KVUE News Nightbeat as part of our exclusive partnership with the Austin American-Statesman.
APD Detective Charles Kleinert shot Larry Jackson Jr. in the back of the neck during a struggle. On Tuesday Set. 17, his family filed a lawsuit against Kleinert and the city.
Standing in front of a picture of Jackson, attorney Adam Loewy claims Kleinert racially profiled Jackson then shot and killed him intentionally.
“He was on 35th Street in a predominantly white part of town. He looks suspicious to him as an African American. From the beginning, it was confrontational," Loewy said.
"We thoroughly expected the lawsuit to be filed, and we thoroughly expected the same attorney to file the lawsuit that's been filing these things when we have a tragedy like this," said Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association.
Vincent can't comment on specifics of the case but says this is typical of Loewy. "It's the same old tactics by this attorney -- throw things out without any facts behind them, just to try and influence a potential jury trial," Vincent said.
On July 26, Detective Kleinert went to Benchmark Bank on 35th Street to follow up on an unrelated robbery earlier in the day when police say Jackson tried to come in and pass a forged check. That's something Loewy claims is simply not true.
"We believe he was at the bank to do a banking transaction. I strongly disagree with the characterization he was there to do a criminal act," said Loewy.
When Kleinert tried to question Jackson, police say he ran, beginning a chase that ended under a bridge near Shoal Creek and 35th Street.
They got into a struggle and Kleinert shot Jackson in the back of the neck.
"When we look at the forensics, when we look at the autopsy, and when you think about how can someone accidentally shoot someone in the back of the head, let's just be realistic here," said Loewy.
“I'm very confident that Adam Loewy's portrayal of this incident is nowhere near what the facts will show," Vincent said.
Loewy has represented families in several other fatal police shootings but says this case stands out.
"I will tell you that in my professional opinion, this is by far the worst police shooting this city has ever seen," said Loewy.
A city spokesperson tells KVUE they have not been served with the suit and cannot currently comment, nor can Austin police.
Officer Kleinert's attorney Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez sent a statement on Loewy saying: “He makes a lot of baseless allegations in this case. The lawsuit is full of outright lies. Making allegations and providing proof are two different things."