Lawyer: Texas officer in police shooting protected by immunity

NEW ORLEANS (AP) –  A lawyer for a white police officer who shot and killed a black man after a foot chase argues his client should be protected by federal immunity.

An appeals court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Charles Kleinert, an Austin police officer working with the FBI on bank robberies when he encountered Larry Jackson Jr.

Kleinert has said his gun discharged accidentally during a struggle.

A grand jury indicted Kleinert in 2013 but a federal judge later dismissed it, citing a 126-year old court ruling protecting federal officers from state prosecution in certain cases.

Kleinert’s lawyer, Randy Leavitt, told the three-judge panel Tuesday that his client went to the bank as a federal officer investigating a robbery.

But Texas prosecutor Rosa Theofanis called on the judges to overturn the lower court’s decision.

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