Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) is calling on the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend a pardon for a U.S. Army sergeant who was convicted on Friday for the fatal shooting of a Black Lives Matter protester.
A jury unanimously found Daniel Perry, an active-duty sergeant, guilty of murder for shooting Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old white man, during a BLM protest in July 2020. Perry was driving for Uber when, on July 25, 2020, he turned on to a street in downtown Austin blocked by BLM protesters. As protesters surrounded Perry's car, Foster approached Perry openly carrying an AK-47 rifle, which is legal in Texas, according to police. Perry then shot Foster, later telling police he acted out of self-defense because Foster had raised the rifle. During the trial, both sides disputed who instigated the episode, and witnesses testified that Foster never raised his gun. Perry's defense focused on the state's "stand your ground" law, which allows deadly force to be used by those who feel they are in danger, to justify his response, according to the Texas Tribune.
Several conservative lawmakers laid blame for the conviction on progressive prosecutors. Matt Rinaldi, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, said that "this case should have never been prosecuted" and that a pardon from the governor was "in order." Blaming Democratic Travis County district attorney José Garza for the conviction, Abbott promised to rein in "rogue district attorneys." Abbott announced Saturday that he is "working as swiftly as Texas law allows" to pardon Perry.
"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 wrote on Twitter. While Abbott noted that Texas law "limits the governor's pardon authority to only act on a recommendation" by the pardon board, he wrote that "I look forward to approving the board's pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk."
"Additionally, I have already prioritized reining in rogue district attorneys and the Texas Legislature is working on laws to achieve that goal," Abbott noted.
The Texas Senate recently introduced a bill to rein in the power of elected prosecutors, specifically targeting left-leaning district attorneys who have declined to prosecute certain cases, such as those involving the state's abortion laws.