Texas Governor Greg Abbott grants pardon to Army sergeant Daniel Perry convicted of killing protester in 2020

Texas Governor Greg Abbott granted a pardon on Thursday to the Army sergeant who was convicted of murder last year for the fatal shooting of a protester in downtown Austin in July 2020.

Daniel Perry was convicted by a Travis County jury last year for the murder of Garrett Foster and received a 25-year prison sentence. Abbott expressed his desire to pardon Perry while also requesting the Board of Pardons and Paroles to review Perry’s case.

On Thursday, the board provided a unanimous recommendation to pardon Perry, and Abbott promptly signed the declaration. As a result, Perry was released from prison.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza strongly criticized the pardon, stating that both the board and Abbott had undermined the integrity of our legal system.

In a statement on Thursday, Garza expressed her strong disapproval of their actions, stating that they are in direct violation of the law. She further emphasized that their actions highlight the existence of two distinct classes of people within the state, where some lives are deemed more important than others. Garza believes that this incident has sent a clear and troubling message to Garrett Foster’s family, his partner, and the entire community, conveying the notion that his life is of little value.

He further stated that it also conveys a message to community members who dedicated their time to serve on the grand jury and trial jury that their service is deemed insignificant.

On July 25, 2020, Perry came across a gathering of protesters in downtown Austin, approximately 70 miles away from his location in Fort Hood, according to the police. The protesters were expressing their grievances against racial injustice and police brutality following the tragic murder of George Floyd, an African American man who had been killed by a Minnesota police officer just weeks before.

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During the protest, Foster participated while responsibly carrying a semiautomatic rifle. As Foster approached the intersection, Perry, who was in his car, shot him with a handgun.

According to the police, Perry claimed that Foster, who was an Air Force veteran, had aimed the rifle at him, and he responded by acting in self-defense. Abbott argued that Perry should have been protected from prosecution under Texas’ “stand your ground” law.

During the trial, prosecutors presented Perry’s previous social media posts and text messages in an attempt to depict him as a racist. They argued that he had the option to drive away without resorting to firing his weapon. Additionally, witnesses testified that they never witnessed Foster pointing his firearm at Perry.

Perry was found guilty of murder, but he was cleared of the additional charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

On Thursday, the governor granted a pardon to Perry, which will fully reinstate his rights as if he had never been convicted. This includes the restoration of his right to own firearms.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has confirmed that Perry has been released from prison after receiving a pardon.

According to Clint Broden, Perry’s attorney, he stated that the situation surrounding this case has always been tragic. However, he firmly believes that the evidence clearly backs up Perry’s claim of acting in self-defense. Broden further accuses Garza of intentionally withholding crucial evidence that could have bolstered Perry’s case.

According to Broden, the Board of Pardons and Paroles thoroughly reviewed the case on its own. During the review, they interviewed the police detective who had previously concluded, after a comprehensive investigation, that Mr. Perry had acted in self-defense. This was in response to being confronted by an angry crowd and an individual holding an assault rifle in a threatening position.

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Perry and his family express their gratitude to the board for its thorough evaluation, according to him.

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