Texas governor says he plans to pardon man convicted of murdering Black Lives Matter protestor

Daniel Perry (R) murdered Garrett Foster (L) at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas.
Daniel Perry (R) murdered Garrett Foster (L) at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas. Photo credit: Facebook/Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/USA Today Network

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he is working to pardon an army sergeant who was convicted Friday of killing a protester at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020.

Daniel Perry, a White army sergeant and rideshare driver, was indicted with murder in 2021 for the fatal shooting of Garrett Foster, who is also White, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas. He was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct for his behaviour at the protest.

A Travis County jury convicted Perry, 35, of murder on Friday. 

The jury found him not guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and the deadly conduct charge is still pending with the county attorney’s office.

“I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” Abbott tweeted Saturday afternoon.

In the tweet, the Republican governor explained that Texas law allows the governor to request the state’s board of pardons and paroles to determine if a pardon should be granted and that he has “made that request and instructed the Board to expedite its review.”

Abbott also referenced Texas’ “Stand Your Grand” law, which he called “one of the strongest” in the country.

Perry’s lawyer, Clint Broden, told CNN he was “disappointed” in the verdict.

“We are disappointed in the verdict both as it relates to Daniel Perry and as it relates to a citizen’s ability to defend themselves,” Broden told CNN via text message Saturday. 

“Sgt. Perry will, of course, appeal the verdict and we are hopeful that the case will ultimately be overturned on appeal.”

The pardon process “is outside our control,” he added in response to Abbott’s tweet. He said Perry’s legal team is focused on “the upcoming sentencing hearing and marshalling evidence related to Sgt. Perry’s character and his service to our country.”

Travis County District Attorney José Garza called Abbott’s comments that he would intervene in the case “deeply troubling.”

“Make no mistake, without intervention from the Governor, the defendant’s conviction would be reviewed by both state and federal courts who will examine the record to ensure that no legal errors were made at this level and that the evidence supported the conviction,” Garza said.

Perry’s defence has argued that he shot Foster in self-defence after Foster approached his car with an assault-style rifle. According to his lawyers, Perry was an active-duty sergeant working for a rideshare service to make extra money at the time of the killing.

 His defence has said he dropped off a client near the protest and did not know the protest, which followed the death of George Floyd, was taking place. 

He carried a handgun in his car for protection as a driver, according to his lawyers.

The prosecution argued that Perry initiated the encounter by running a red light to turn into the crowd gathered for the police brutality protest and had previously posted on social media about shooting protesters, according to CNN affiliate KEYE.

Foster, 28, died shortly after the shooting.

Garza said he will continue to fight for the Foster family and for a justice system that treats everyone equally.

“I know how long they have waited for justice for Garrett and their family. I can imagine that justice must feel so elusive for them and right now, and for that, I am more sorry than words can express,” the district attorney said.

A judge is expected to set a sentencing hearing for Perry on Monday.