Gov. Abbott pardons Daniel Perry, who was convicted of killing a Black Lives Matter protester

Perry had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Garrett Foster during an altercation at a protest in 2020.

By Andrew Weber, KUT NewsMay 16, 2024 7:20 pm, ,

From KUT News:

Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murder for fatally shooting a demonstrator during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020, has been pardoned.

The former Army sergeant had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Garrett Foster in downtown Austin in July 2020. After his conviction, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to pardon him.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles said Thursday it voted unanimously in favor of a pardon, clearing the way for the governor to issue one.

“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney,” Abbott said, taking a swipe at Travis County District Attorney José Garza, who prosecuted the case. “I thank the Board for its thorough investigation, and I approve their pardon recommendation.”

Perry was driving for Uber when he encountered a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters. Foster, an Air Force veteran who was armed with an assault rifle, approached Perry’s vehicle and the two got into an altercation. Perry then shot Foster multiple times. Both men were legally carrying their weapons.

Perry was released from prison Thursday. His attorney Doug O’Connell said he was “thrilled and elated to be free.”

“Daniel is also optimistic for his future. He wishes that this tragic event never happened and wishes he never had to defend himself against Mr. Foster’s unlawful actions,” O’Connell said in a statement. “At the same time, Daniel recognizes that the Foster family is grieving.”

Whitney Mitchell, Foster’s longtime girlfriend, said she was “heartbroken by this lawlessness.”

“With this pardon, the Governor has desecrated the life of a murdered Texan and US Air Force veteran, and impugned that jury’s just verdict,” she said. “He has declared that Texans who hold political views that are different from his – and different from those in power – can be killed in this State with impunity.”

DA Garza also condemned the decision to pardon Perry, saying the board and Abbott made a “mockery of our legal system.”

“Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some lives do not,” Garza said in a statement. “They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter. ”

During the trial, Garza’s office highlighted Perry’s persistent use of racist language and condemnation of Black Lives Matter in the lead-up to the shooting. Not only did Perry use racist slurs, he also told a friend he “might have to kill a few people on my way to work,” adding that “they are rioting outside my apartment complex.”

In Texas, felons are prohibited from owning a firearm. With the governor’s pardon, Perry is legally allowed to possess one again.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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