Apr 9, 2023 - News

Texas governor pushes pardon of man convicted of protester killing

An attendee pays respects at a vigil for Garrett Foster on July 26, 2020 in downtown Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he would pardon a man convicted on Friday of killing an Austin social justice protester.

Driving the news: Abbott announced Saturday that he has requested that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles determine if Daniel Perry should be granted a pardon.

  • A Travis County jury had convicted the U.S. Army sergeant and Uber driver of murder in the 2020 shooting death of Austin Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster.
  • Perry killed Foster, an Air Force veteran who was legally armed, during a confrontation at an Austin BLM protest.

What happened: Perry drove into a crowd gathered downtown to protest police violence, and later fatally shot Foster, who was carrying an AK-47 rifle.

  • Perry's defense team said that he acted in self-defense, per the Austin American-Statesman, but prosecutors argued that Perry instigated what happened.
  • They drew attention to social media posts and Facebook messages in which Perry made statements that they said spoke to his state of mind, including that he might "kill a few people on my way to work. They are rioting outside my apartment complex," per the Statesman.

What they're saying: "I look forward to approving the Board's pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk," Abbott said in a statement posted to Twitter.

  • "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, in an apparent reference to Travis County's Democratic District Attorney José Garza.

The other side: Garza addressed Abbott's attempted pardon in a statement on Sunday, according to the Statesman, saying, "a jury gets to decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent — not the governor."

Between the lines: Abbott's announcement comes after Fox News host Tucker Carlson dedicated a segment to Perry's conviction on his show Friday evening.

  • Carlson said he had invited Abbott to discuss whether he was considering a pardon for Perry, but said the governor declined
  • "So that is Greg Abbott's position, there is no right of self-defense in Texas," Carlson told his viewers.

Details: The eight-day trial featured dozens of witnesses.

  • An Austin jury deliberated for 17 hours over two days before reaching the verdict.
  • The trial was not broadcast on TV and Abbott attended no portions of it, per the Statesman.

Worth noting: Members of the pardon and parole board are appointed by the governor.


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