The national conversation about police violence that has followed in the wake of the protests in Ferguson, MO has important ramifications here in Austin, TX. As many of you know, in July of 2013, Larry Jackson, Jr. an unarmed African-American man, was shot and killed by Detective Charles Kleinert of the Austin Police Department. Because of the work of activists across the city, we were able to pressure the District Attorney’s office and ensure that Kleinert, unlike so many police officers across the country, was actually indicted.
That indictment is now in jeopardy. Kleinert’s lawyers are attempting to argue that his case should go to federal court rather than county court because at the time of the shooting Kleinert claims to have been working for federal law enforcement. If he succeeds in that claim, it is very likely that he will receive federal immunity and will not face any punishment for killing Larry Jackson, Jr. This is essentially an attempt to dial back the work that has happened here in Austin and reproduce the national pattern of getting police officers off on legal technicalities.
The People’s Task Force had called for a day of action on March 3, 2015, the day that Kleinert’s petition to move his trial to federal court was supposed to be heard by Judge Lee Yeakel. Between 60 and 75 people showed up that night, despite the fact that Judge Yeakel once again postponed the hearing. (It should be remembered that the county courts also issued several continuances before this point). The new hearing date is now scheduled for April 9th.
As a result, the People’s Task Force calls on all interested organizations and individuals to join us at a strategy meeting to plan our response to the events of April 9th. We welcome all who are committed to justice for the Jackson family and who are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement to come and help organize a rally that will make sure that Detective Kleinert actually faces justice.
The organizing meeting will be on March 19th at 7pm at the Cepeda Library room #1 (651 N. Pleasant Valley Road, Austin TX 78702). Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The People’s Task Force