Police Abuse

Austin Police Report on Back-of-Neck Shooting of Suspect Cop Chased After Released; Cops Angry

|

I blogged last week about an Austin man who a police officer chased (in a commandeered citizen's car) then shot in the back of the neck after he tried a couple of times to enter a bank that was locked because of an earlier robbery; the police insisted that they were sure the man, Larry Jackson, was planning to commit an unspecified "fraud" on the bank to excuse the chasing.

Now the official "custodial death report" from the state attorney general office has leaked, and it says that it was a "justifiable homicide" because Jackson supposedly tried to "grab, hit, or fight" the officer, other details uncertain.

It also specifies that the crime he was suspected of committing was "identity theft" because he supposedly "attempted to withdraw money from a bank using account holders name" though from earlier accounts he never got in the closed bank in the first place.

Austin police are outraged the report was released and want a thorough investigation–into the leak, not the shooting, reports Austin's Statesman.com:

The Austin Police Association on Wednesday called on the city of Austin to investigate who leaked information to the American-Statesman from an internal affairs investigation into a fatal officer-involved shooting last month.

At a press conference, Sgt. Wayne Vincent, president of the police union, said that he wants City Manager Marc Ott to appoint an outside individual or entity to investigate what he described as a "criminal act."

"This leak was in violation of the law, our labor contract and tears at the thread of common decency and professional standards," Vincent said.

He requested sworn affidavits, cell phone records and "anything else deemed necessary in an effort to find out why it was so important for someone with privileged information to peddle a story to only selected individuals."

Jackson's family attorney thinks the report is good for their side, reports Austin'e KEYE-TV:

Attorney Adam Loewy weighed in on a death report obtained exclusively by KEYE TV. "From a legal stance it makes our case very strong," said Loewy.

Loewy, who is representing Larry Eugene Jackson Jr.'s mother, claimed the Austin Police Department will have a tough time proving the shooting death was justified. "They're saying that this was an accidental discharge. That creates a world of problems for the police department because we do not believe this was accidental," added Loewy. On page two of the death report it said the cause of death was accidental injury…

I have to say, he's the lawyer, but my reading of the report contradicts Loewy's. I don't see the report stating it was an accident; the line he seems to be relying on says the death was "accidental injury, intoxication, suicide, or homicide"–meaning it was one of those things.

Elsewhere in the report it denies intoxication was involved, and it clearly wasn't suicide, and elsewhere in the report it calls the death "justifiable homicide." I do not believe from my reading the police were admitting to or calling it an accident. Which means that grabbing, hitting or fighting an officer, with no fear for life mentioned, is sufficient reason for a justifiable fatal gunshot to back of the neck to them.

NEXT: Dolphins Can Remember a Friend's Whistle Twenty Years Later

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Look, the fact of the matter is this man was *probably* up to no good. It was thus necessary for him to die for officer safety.

    1. He was trying to get into a bank filled with cops. That’s how you know he was engaged in shady shit.

  2. I suspect the attorney is putting the cops in a box. Its either an accidental discharge, meaning it was done negligently and there is no “justifiable” defense, or it was done intentionally, leaving the cops to explain exactly how shooting someone in the back of the neck at point-blank range is self-defense or necessary to prevent the suspect from escaping.

    He’s baiting them into making a strong denial that it was an AD, locking them into an even more untenable argument potentially carrying higher damages.

    At least, that’s the way I’d play it.

    1. Damnit, Dean, you’re a doctor, not an attorney!

  3. The pursuit of a leak investigation seems like an attempt at deflection.

  4. I knew I should have bought a cup today.

    Ow.

    So if an officer shooting somebody in the back of the neck after a chase based on a mere suspicion that the guy was bad is justifiable, is there actually a scenario that exists where an on-duty police officer can shoot somebody and have it be deemed unjustifiable?

    1. is there actually a scenario that exists where an on-duty police officer can shoot somebody and have it be deemed unjustifiable?

      It’s a tautology. If a cop shoots someone then it’s justified because the person was shot by a cop. If a person was shot by a cop then it’s justified because a cop shot someone. See?

    2. No. Also, a cop can chase you into your bathroom and kill you for trying to flush cannabis down the toilet.

    3. OFFICER SAFETY. TOTALITY OF THE CIRCS.

      You know the drill.

      1. You left out FORCE CONTINUUMS, bigorati scum.

        *smooches*

    4. It’s like a badge is magic!

  5. “This leak was in violation of the law, our labor contract and tears at the thread of common decency and professional standards,” Vincent said.

    Shooting an unarmed man in the back of the neck for no apparent reason, however, is just peachy.

    1. I actually like that part. The mask has slipped off again. Every time that happens, a few more people wake up.

  6. I live in Austin. APD is a gang of criminals who kill at their leisure for things like ‘furtive movements’. This is par for the course here.

  7. This, once again, is why all cops are scum in my eyes. Not just because they cover for one another, but because from a practical standpoint, I do not know whether the cop pulling me over for a broken taillight is the psycho that shoots me because they’re jumpy today and the way I pull my wallet out freaks them out. Since they will never be called to account for that, it could be any single cop I encounter for any reason.

    Which says to me “avoid all cops at all times for any reason”.

    1. Instinctively, most people agree.

      Cops should be quite unhappy that law-abiding, pillar-of-the-community taxpayer types instictively flinch whenever they see me.

      Because they do. Check your reaction the next time you are driving and see a police car. Do you keep an eye on it in your rear-view mirror? Do you feel dread and anxiety? A totally rational and universal reaction.

      1. Sociopaths with badges don’t really care if people respect them out of ignorance or fear. As long as they can beat or kill without consequence anyone who does not immediately submit to their every whim, they’re happy.

      2. After one very questionable incident, I never pull over on the side of the road any more. I keep driving until I hit a shopping plaza, a gas station, or some other occupied place.

        Whatever John Law plans to do, he can do in front of witnesses.

        1. What if you’re on a highway?

          1. I’ve never been pulled over on the highway, strangely enough. I imagine that would make it harder to find a place, though.

          2. You put on your blinkers, drive slow in the right lane, get off at the next exit and pull into a gas station – well lit with cameras.

        2. I just never get pulled over. That seems like the best way to go.

          I think I have been stopped in a car 4 times in my life. Twice for a loud muffler (one of which was bogus), once for a broken tail light lens (?) and once for rolling through a stop sign at some train tracks that have about one train a week use them at about 5 MPH.

          1. This doesn’t qualify as “never”

      3. Cops should be quite unhappy that law-abiding, pillar-of-the-community taxpayer types instictively flinch whenever they see me.

        Well, you are a lawyer after all.

  8. Seeing as this cop committed a carjacking on his way to shoot the guy, I can see this setting up as a felony murder, too. The nice thing about that is there’s no “justifiable” defense to felony murder.

  9. Find personal info. Stalk. Kneecap. Work way down the list.

  10. a fatal officer-involved shooting last month.

    Newspaper article or cop press release? You be the judge.

    “This leak was in violation of the law, our labor contract and tears at the thread of common decency and professional standards,” Vincent said.

    Common decency would say not to shoot an unarmed man in the back. But what do I know? I don’t powerlift.

  11. “This leak was in violation of the law, our labor contract and tears at the thread of common decency and professional standards,” Vincent said.

    I would like to know Vincent’s opinion on PEDs in sports.

    And police departments.

  12. Goddamnit Texas.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.