Abbott Pardons BLM Protester's Killer

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2024 4:55 PM CDT
Killer of Black Lives Matter Demonstrator Receives Pardon
Daniel Perry enters the courtroom at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in May 2023 in Austin, Texas.   (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool, File)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a full pardon Thursday to a former Army sergeant convicted of murder for fatally shooting an armed demonstrator in 2020 during nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice. Abbott announced the pardon just minutes after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles disclosed it had made a unanimous recommendation that Daniel Perry be pardoned in the death of Garrett Foster and have his firearms rights restored, the AP reports. Perry has been held in state prison on a 25-year sentence since his conviction last year.

The Republican governor had previously ordered the board to review Daniel Perry's case and said he would sign a pardon if recommended. The board, which is appointed by the governor, announced its decision on the agency website, and Abbott's pardon swiftly followed. Abbott's demand for a review of Perry's case followed pressure from former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who on national television had urged the Republican governor to intervene after the sergeant was convicted at trial in April 2022. Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison after prosecutors used his social media history and text messages to portray him as a racist who may commit violence again, per the AP.

A jury in Austin had convicted Perry of murder in the death of 28-year-old Foster, an Air Force veteran who had been legally carrying an AK-47 while marching in a Black Lives Matter protest. Perry was working as a ride-share driver in July 2020 when he turned his car onto a street crowded with demonstrators and shot Foster before driving off. Prosecutors argued at trial that Perry could have driven away without opening fire, and witnesses testified that they never saw Foster raise his gun. The sergeant's defense attorneys argued that Foster, who is white, did raise the rifle and that Perry had no choice but to shoot. Perry, who is white, did not take the witness stand, and jurors deliberated for two days before finding him guilty.

(More Texas stories.)

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