Texas Gov. Abbott pardons Army veteran convicted of killing assault rifle-wielding BLM protester in 2020
05/20/2024 // Belle Carter // Views

On May 16, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pardoned a former U.S. Army sergeant convicted of murder for shooting an AK47-wielding Black Lives Matter protester back in 2020. The decision came shortly after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended a full pardon.

A Texas state district court judge sentenced Daniel Perry in May 2023 to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing U.S. Air Force veteran Garrett Foster during a demonstration protesting police brutality against people of color in downtown Austin, Texas back on July 25, 2020. Following the sentence decision, Abbott directed the parole board to review Perry's case. (Related: Texas army sgt. who killed BLM protester in self defense during George Floyd riots sentenced to 25 years in prison by radical Austin judge.)

"Among the voluminous files reviewed by the Board, they considered information provided by the Travis County District Attorney, the full investigative report on Daniel Perry, plus a review of all the testimony provided at trial," Abbott said in a statement announcing the proclamation that absolved Perry. "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."

The decision also included the restoration of Perry's firearm rights. He may also be able to apply to have his record expunged, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Attorney General Ken Paxton lauded Abbott's move. "Americans across the country have been watching this case in Texas and praying for justice after BLM riots terrorized the nation in 2020. Our right to self-defense is enshrined in the Constitution. Soros-backed prosecutors like Jose Garza do not get to pick and choose the rights we have as Americans, and I am relieved that justice has prevailed," he posted on X, formerly Twitter, referring to Travis County District Jose Garza, whose office prosecuted the case against Perry.

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Garza, meanwhile slammed the governor's pardon. "The Board and the Governor have put their politics over justice and made a mockery of our legal system. They should be ashamed of themselves," Garza said. "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. They have sent a message to Garrett Foster's family, to his partner, and our community that his life does not matter. They have sent the message that the service of the Travis County community members who served on the grand and trial juries does not matter. To the family and friends of Garrett Foster and the people of Travis County, we will not stop fighting for justice."

Perry, who was working as an Uber driver, shot assault-rifle-wielding Foster during the Summer of Floyd after Foster together with a mob of BLM protesters swarmed him in his car in the middle of a public street.

A press release from Perry's attorney Clint Broden back in 2021 indicated that "when Sgt. Perry turned on Congress Avenue, several people started beating on his vehicle… Foster quickly approached the car and then motioned with the assault rifle for Mr. Perry to lower his window." Broden said Perry believed Foster was with law enforcement and complied. Perry then fired the handgun after Foster raised his assault rifle toward him. After that, a crowd member began firing on Perry's vehicle. The ex-Army never left his vehicle but immediately called the police upon getting to safety.

Democrats and Republicans weigh in on Abbott's decision

Apart from Paxton and Garza, several political personalities turned to social media to air their sentiments on Abbott's recent decision.

Democrat and former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke bashed it. "Abbott will try to tell you that the biggest threat to law and order in Texas is immigrants. Or President Biden. Or college students. But it's him," O'Rourke wrote. "The truth is this guy doesn't give a s— about you, your life, your safety or the rule of law. He cares about pandering to extreme right-wing Republicans and raising money from billionaires. That's why he pardoned Perry, that's why he hurts the people he should be helping."

For state Rep. Ron Reynolds, Abbott's action was an "all-time low, even for the governor." Reynolds described the pardon as a gesture to the Trump wing of the Republican Party. "I am very frustrated. This seems to be very much MAGA-driven, something he's doing to keep his base happy. I will be sending a letter to the governor expressing my disappointment. I doubt that he'll care." He also called the pardon "a slap in the face to the Foster family (and to) the Black Lives Matter movement."

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said that the justice system was hijacked. "Texas Republicans have once again proven that they cannot keep the public safe, they are not the party of 'tough on crime,' and they are not the party of 'law and order.' Only in an authoritarian state can a murderer be fully pardoned at the direction of a Fox News TV personality and corrupt governor. Make no mistake: Daniel Perry is a murderer who was on a mission to commit violence against Texans, and today our justice system was hijacked for political gain," he said.

Meanwhile, 21st District Congressman Chip Roy praised the pardon. He replied to Abbott’s statement with "Excellent.” Matt Rinaldi, Texas GOP chair, also said that it was “about freaking time.”

Head over to BlackLiesMatter.news for stories related to this.

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