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A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday in a Texas case in which the state is trying to prosecute a white Texas officer who a judge earlier said was immune from prosecution in the shooting death of a black man.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the case in New Orleans.

Charles Kleinert was an Austin police officer working with an FBI task force investigating bank robberies when he encountered Larry Jackson Jr. Court records say Jackson tried to enter a bank that was closed, saying he wanted to make a withdrawal. Kleinert was inside, and bank employees who talked to Jackson told Kleinert he lied about his identity.

Kleinert went out to investigate and after a short conversation, Jackson ran off. Kleinert gave chase.

When Kleinert caught up to Jackson, a struggle ensued and Jackson was shot in the back of the neck and died. Kleinert's team have argued that Kleinert hit Jackson twice with his hand while holding his gun, then Jackson turned, Kleinert fell back and his gun accidentally discharged.

Prosecutors have argued that Kleinert acted recklessly, that he used excessive force and suggested the gun was directly against Jackson's neck when it went off. A Texas grand jury indicted Kleinert for manslaughter in July 2013.

But before the case went to trial, a federal judge dismissed it. The judge cited a more than 100-year-old court ruling protecting federal officers from state prosecution if they were carrying out their duties in a reasonable and proper manner. The protection doesn't shield all acts by federal law enforcement, but it does create a different, and what many consider a more forgiving, standard for their conduct than state law.


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