Case of former Austin police officer charged in death of unarmed man goes to federal court

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AUSTIN, Texas — A judge has ruled that a former Austin police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed man during a 2013 bank robbery investigation should be considered in court a federal officer because of his assignment that day to an FBI-led task force.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel's decision last month transferred former Austin police Detective Charles Kleinert's case from state to federal court.

The Austin American-Statesman ( ) reports the ruling gives Kleinert, charged with manslaughter in the death of Larry Jackson Jr., several potential legal advantages he didn't enjoy in state court. For one, unlike state courts, federal courts may grant immunity to some police officers charged with crimes.

Kleinert said his gun accidentally fired.

Information from: Austin American-Statesman,

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