Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) said he is seeking a pardon for an Army sergeant who was convicted of murder after fatally shooting an armed Black Lives Matter protester in what he claimed was an act of self-defense.
Sgt. Daniel Perry was convicted just before the weekend for the July 2020 killing of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was taking part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Austin, Texas.
Perry is white, as was Foster.
“I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” Abbott tweeted in a statement on Saturday.
“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,” he added.
Abbott said he requested an expedited review by the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles. Despite his position as governor, Abbott can not take unilateral action on his own without the board’s review.
“I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk,” Abbott said.
The Case for Perry
Perry was working for a ride-sharing company when he encountered the group of Black Lives Matters protesters.
He did not intend to run into them that day, but his route took him up a street in downtown Austin where the demonstration was taking place, one of multiple occurring across the country after the George Floyd’s officer-involved death.
Perry, faced with a mob blocking his path, stopped and honked before slowly moving his car towards the crowd to encourage them to move out of his way.
Instead, multiple people in the crowd surrounded and approached Perry’s car, including Foster.
Armed with an AK-47 rifle, Foster allegedly raised his gun toward Perry, who fired in self-defense.
However, witnesses say Foster never raised his rifle, despite pictures from security footage that appear to show him at the very least gripping it toward Perry’s car.
Prosecutors argued Perry could have driven away instead of shooting even if he truly feared for his life.
He faces a maximum of life in prison and could be sentenced as soon as next week.