AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Texas Civil Rights Project on Friday asked the U.S. Justice Department to again review the Austin Police Department in light of last week's deadly shooting by an on-duty detective.
In a letter to an attorney in the Justice Department's civil rights office, the Texas organization's executive director described what he called a "systematic misuse of force" against minorities. Larry Eugene Jackson Jr., the man killed by an officer's gunshot on July 26, was African-American.
"Racial profiling probably played a role in this tragedy, too," Harrington wrote. "Mr. Jackson was an African-American in a white area of town."
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City Manager Marc Ott is considering many options concerning the shooting, one of which is seeking a DOJ investigation, a city spokesman said.
Jackson had gone to a bank near 34th Street and Shoal Creek apparently unaware that it had recently been robbed. An employee went to see what Jackson wanted then Detective Charles Kleinert, who was investigating the robbery, confronted him.
Jackson ran, and Kleinert gave chase, police said. The detective commandeered a private vehicle and caught up with Jackson. During a struggle, Jackson was shot in the back of the neck by the detective's weapon, police said. He died from the wound.
Assistant Police Chief Bran Manley said at the time it appeared that Jackson intended to commit an unspecified fraud against the bank. Jackson did have a fraud conviction on his record.
The matter is under investigation.
Jackson's parents have hired attorney Adam Loewy to represent their family in any future legal proceedings regarding the shooting. Loewy has said they would wait until after Jackson's funeral on Saturday to conduct their own investigation into the shooting.
Harrington and his organization have been outspoken critics of Austin police practices and policies in recent years.
The Justice Department has examined Austin police policies in the past.
In mid 2007, the DOJ's Civil Rights Division launched an investigation into APD after complaints from watch dog groups like the Texas Civil Rights Project. The next year, DOJ sent the Austin Police Department a 50-page report outlining changes should be made to the department's use of force policy.
The federal agency determined APD needed to revise its use of force policies and adopt an appropriate use of force continuum. Officers were required to receive more training and undergo an annual recertification process.
Changes were also made in terms of supervisor oversight. Within minutes of a officer involved shooting a police sergeant must respond to the scene. The internal investigations process was also revamped.
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