AUSTIN (KXAN) — Former Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert is back on the stand Thursday morning to answer questions about what happened the day of Larry Jackson Jr.’s deadly shooting. The state is trying to determine if his actions were necessary and proper and if his story has changed since his original grand jury testimony.
The prosecutor tried to get Kleinert to admit he could have stopped at any point to call for back up, but Kleinart continued to say he could not because he was in an “active pursuit,” and the suspect could have been a danger to the public. At one point during the pursuit, Kleinert asked a bystander, Regina Bethune, to drive him to catch up with Jackson. The state was able to get Kleinert to say it was not necessary for him to command Bethune’s car, but Kleinert deemed it proper.
During questioning Kleinert said Jackson never did anything to cause him to use deadly force but when he approached him, he said the suspect tried to run again. The shooting, Kleinert says, was an accident when Jackson caused him to fall as he ran away.
On the stand when state prosecutors questioned if he would do anything differently Kleinert said “I would change everything about that encounter. I wouldn’t even gone to work that day.”
The state tried to convince judge Lee Yeakel that Kleinart’s actions were not called for. The prosecutors continued to ask if it was necessary for Kleinart to even stop Larry Jackson in the first place. Kleinart replied it was his “duty to detain people that break federal laws.” At this point Kleinart thought Jackson was going to commit fraud and believed he had probable cause.
Prosecutors brought in a Dan Montgomery as an expert witness. Montgomery has 53 years of law enforcement experience, mostly in Colorado, where he was a small town police chief. Defense lawyers objected to much of his testimony because Montgomery’s opinions were not related to the specifics of APD policy. The judge said he would only take the “weight” of the testimony into his decision.
Greg Karim was also called to the stand on Thursday. Karim is a firearm examiner for the Austin Police Department’s forensic department. During the investigation, Karme said he found no reason the detective’s gun would discharge on its own, and it functioned normally when tested, however, a fired cartridge remained in the slide of the gun, which is unusual. He concluded something impeded the movement of the slide of the weapon.
When graphic photographs of the crime scene were shown, several of Jackson’s family members got up and left the courtroom.