AUSTIN (KXAN) — A grand jury indicted a Burnet patrol sergeant in connection with the March shooting death of a man who allegedly drove over the officer’s foot, according to documents filed in court.
Russell Butler faces murder and felony aggravated assault charges for the death of Brandon Michael Jacque on March 27.
Collin Kennedy, an attorney based in Frisco, now represents Jacque’s mother. He told KXAN over the phone Wednesday that she felt relieved and also suprised to learn about the indictment.
“It’s very unusual for a police officer in the state of Texas to be indicted, especially for murder,” Kennedy said, “so she’s glad to see there will be justice on the criminal side, or at least the pursuit of that.”
He said he’s working on his own separate investigation for a potential civil lawsuit on the family’s behalf.
“Ultimately, they want justice,” Kennedy said, “and they feel like that will give them some closure in this tragic situation.”
During the predawn hours on March 27, Butler responded to a loud noise complaint outside a home near the intersection of McNeil Street and East League Street in Burnet.
Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson told the media at the time that the 25-year-old victim was in a car, backed up toward Butler and didn’t stop when given commands. The car drove over Butler’s foot, and that’s when he’s accused of firing his weapon into the vehicle.
During the same incident, the court documents filed Tuesday stated that Butler is accused of threatening to shoot a woman in the passenger seat.
KXAN talked to that woman’s mother Wednesday, but she declined to comment on camera. She, however, said her daughter spoke last week with the Texas Rangers and was not shocked to find out about the officer’s indictment.
Butler worked with the Burnet Police Department for three years and recently received a promotion to become a patrol sergeant. Police initially put him on administrative leave after the shooting, but they confirmed he was released of duty Tuesday for a policy violation related to use of force.
The Texas Municipal Police Association confirmed that it’s paying for Butler’s defense attorney, Travis Williamson. The organization represents members of law enforcement and covers the costs associated with their defense.
Williamson released the following statement Wednesday evening:
“Sgt. Butler has hired me to represent him in connection with these charges, and I firmly maintain he is not guilty of any of the charges in the indictment. Sgt. Butler was a distinguished member of the Burnet Police Department. He was quickly promoted to the rank of Sgt. by the Department and he has never been accused of using excessive force of any kind.
In the grand jury process the defense is not permitted to present any of the witnesses or experts who we anticipate will testify that Sgt. Butler’s conduct and reactions were anything but reasonable. It is a secret process by design, and there is no way to know what information they were presented with.
“When the case is presented in a full and fair manner to a full jury in an open courtroom, Sgt. Butler will be fully exonerated.”
A KXAN source said Butler turned himself in Wednesday morning in Llano County. He faces a $200,000 for one count of murder and three counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.
Jacque’s sister tells KXAN he had a 4-year-old daughter. An obituary for Jacque showed he was two weeks away from turning 26.