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Governor pardons Texas man convicted of killing BLM protester

Daniel Perry entering an Austin courtroom Austin American-Statesman via Associated Press/Photo by Jay Janner (Pool)

Governor pardons Texas man convicted of killing BLM protester

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday granted clemency to Daniel Perry, a man previously convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020. The former Army sergeant, who claimed to have shot in self-defense, was serving a 25-year prison sentence. Texas has strong “stand your ground” laws of self-defense, which can’t be ignored by a jury or a progressive district attorney, Abbott said. His decision followed a recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Travis County’s Democratic District Attorney José Garza, who prosecuted Perry, slammed the pardon, saying Abbott and the board made a mockery of the legal system. Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some do not, Garza said in a statement.

What exactly happened at the 2020 protest? Perry was working as a ride-share driver when he found himself on a street in Austin where BLM protesters were marching. Protester Garrett Foster, a white Air Force veteran, approached Perry’s car carrying an AK-47-style rifle, which is legal in Texas. Perry rolled down his window and shot at Foster. Much of the testimony and argument at Perry’s trial focused on whether Foster had raised the rifle or pointed it at Perry.

How did the parole board reach its decision? The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must approve a prisoner’s release before a pardon may be issued. The board conducted an exhaustive review of Perry’s personal history and the facts of the 2020 incident, Abbott said. The board voted unanimously to recommend a full pardon and restoration of firearm rights, according to a statement by the board.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Sharon Dierberger’s report on churches working to pursue reconciliation after months of violent BLM protests.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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