On Saturday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a promise to pardon US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry, who was found guilty of fatally shooting a protester during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration in Austin in 2020.
Abbott claimed that Perry acted in self-defense when he shot Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old marcher. The governor cited Texas’ strong “Stand Your Ground” law, which he says cannot be overridden by a jury or a progressive district attorney, as the reason for his decision.
Abbott blamed the George Soros-backed Democrat district attorney, José Garza, for Perry’s conviction and vowed to clamp down on “rogue district attorneys.” He also tweeted his support for a theory that Garza intentionally misled the grand jury during the trial. Abbott stated that he has requested that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles speed up the review process for Perry’s case and make a pardon recommendation, a power he is not allowed to exercise under the state’s constitution. He added that he will approve the board’s recommendation as soon as it reaches his desk.
Perry has maintained for almost three years since the shooting occurred that he only shot Foster after the protester aimed an AK-47 at his car.
During his shift as a rideshare driver, Perry, who was stationed at Fort Hood, approximately 70 miles north of Austin, encountered the July 25, 2020 rally and was outraged when the protesters started hitting his car.
Perry’s attorneys contended that Foster, who had an AK-47, a club, and a knife and was wearing a neoprene vest under his T-shirt, was the one who first pointed his gun, causing Perry to shoot in self-defense.
However, witnesses testified otherwise, claiming that Foster never raised his weapon and was pushing his fiancée’s wheelchair when he was shot. Perry also faced accusations of having expressed strong anti-protest views in past social media posts. In some posts, Perry suggested that people could shoot demonstrators without consequences in Texas. Perry, who could face life imprisonment, was visibly emotional when the verdict was read on Friday.
“I visited Daniel in jail this morning. As you might expect, he is devastated. He spoke to me about his fears that he will never get to hug his Mother again. He’s also crushed that this conviction will end his Army service; he loves being a Soldier,” his lawyer, Doug O’Connell, said.
“Our entire team is physically & mentally exhausted after the last two weeks of trial. The battle is not over – we will continue to fight for Daniel.”