Does Austin have more police shootings than other cities? - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Does Austin have more police shootings than other cities?

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Scratch the surface of Austin's charm and what you'll find, according to some who live here, is far from idyllic.

"Prejudice is everywhere."

Sue Gabriel points to the fatal shooting of her family member, 32-year-old Larry Jackson Jr. as an example. She believes Detective Charles Kleinert targeted her cousin because he was black.

"Even if he did anything wrong, he was not supposed to die," she said.

Jackson's death marks at least half dozen officer-involved shootings this year in Austin. FOX 7 wanted to know if that number was abnormal for a city of about 820,000 people. Criminology Professor David Klinger says no, according to his research. But, there's no federal requirement that police shooting are tracked.

"Austin is about two and half times the size of St. Louis. St. Louis has had about four per year for the past 10 years," Klinger said.

Klinger literally wrote the book on police shootings and has studied dozens of Department of Justice investigations similar to the one it will oversee for APD.

"What they will do is go in to see if there's any evidence that the civil rights of the suspect were violated by the police. So they are looking for any question of federal criminality. As opposed the grand jury that would make a decision as to whether the officer will be charged with a crime," Klinger said.

The DOJ investigation could also help give the public confidence in the police department, especially considering the internal leak of how the shooting took place--something that could jeopardize the investigation.

"Often times locals are concerned that local police or the county sheriff that they might not be looking at it through a clear lens and might have a shaded lens. My experience is that's not the way it is. But I understand why some think that's the way it could be.

The DOJ will also look at whether there's a pattern or practice of having unlawful officer involved shootings. It could make mandatory recommendations to the department if the investigation reveals flaws in the department.

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