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Daniel Perry Obituary, Death: Texas Pardons US Army Sergeant Convicted of Murder for Killing AK-47-Wielding BLM Demonstrator in 2020 Riot

May 16, 2024
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In a controversial and highly publicized decision, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the pardon of US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murdering Black Lives Matter protestor Garrett Foster during the 2020 riots. Perry, sentenced to 25 years in April 2023 for the July 2020 shooting in Austin, was pardoned following a unanimous recommendation from the Texas parole board.

The case has been a focal point for discussions about self-defense laws, particularly Texas’ ‘Stand Your Ground’ rules, which allow citizens to use deadly force if they feel threatened. After the parole board’s vote, Abbott stated, “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive District Attorney.” He expressed gratitude for the board’s thorough review of Perry’s case, which involved a comprehensive examination of police reports, court records, witness statements, and interviews with individuals connected to the case.

The parole board’s investigation into Perry’s case was meticulous, with the board concluding that he should receive a full pardon, including the restoration of his firearm rights. The decision came amidst a backdrop of polarized public opinion, with many praising the move as a just application of self-defense laws, while others condemned it as politically motivated and dangerous.

Perry’s trial was a contentious one, with prosecutors portraying him as a racist, unhinged veteran who had intentions of killing protestors. Evidence presented during the trial included text messages and social media posts in which Perry expressed his desire to confront and potentially kill looters. One particularly damning message stated he “might go to Dallas to shoot looters.” Perry faced the possibility of a 99-year prison sentence, but he maintained that he acted in self-defense when he shot Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 at the time.

Critics of Perry’s pardon argue that the decision sets a dangerous precedent. They contend that it undermines the judicial process and could encourage individuals to take the law into their own hands under the guise of self-defense. Sheila Foster, Garrett Foster’s mother, voiced her anguish over the pardon, describing it as another blow following her son’s murder. “I’m shocked that this is my life and what’s happening. It has overwhelmed me with anxiety and the ability to go on,” she said in an emotional interview with CBS Austin.

The events leading up to Foster’s death were chaotic and complex. Perry, who had driven 70 miles from Fort Worth to Austin to work as an Uber driver while stationed at Fort Hood, found himself amidst a protest after dropping off a passenger. He turned onto a street filled with demonstrators and claimed he was unable to navigate through the crowd peacefully. According to Perry, Foster pointed his rifle at him, prompting Perry to shoot in self-defense. The prosecution, however, argued that Perry intentionally sped into the crowd, a claim supported by some witnesses.

A Facebook livestream from the scene captured the moments leading up to the shooting, with the sound of a car horn followed by gunfire as protestors screamed and sought cover. Witness testimonies varied, with some stating they did not see Foster raise his firearm, while others suggested that Perry’s actions were provocative.

The trial also revealed a series of disturbing messages from Perry, showcasing his disdain for the Black Lives Matter movement and protestors. Weeks before the shooting, Perry had written on Facebook that he “might have to kill a few people.” Other messages included racist comments and derogatory statements about protestors. These messages were central to the prosecution’s argument that Perry was not merely defending himself, but had a premeditated intention to harm protestors.

Despite these revelations, the parole board’s decision to pardon Perry was influenced by the context of Texas’ self-defense laws. Governor Abbott emphasized the strength of these laws, suggesting that Perry’s actions were legally justified despite the controversial nature of his past statements and social media activity.

The pardon has sparked a wide range of reactions. Supporters argue that Perry’s actions were a legitimate exercise of his right to self-defense and that the pardon rectifies an overreach by the judicial system. They believe that the case exemplifies the necessity of strong self-defense laws to protect individuals from perceived threats.

On the other hand, opponents fear that the pardon could embolden individuals to act recklessly, knowing they might receive legal protection under self-defense claims. They argue that the decision disregards the judicial process and undermines the verdict of the jury, which had carefully considered the evidence before convicting Perry.

Garrett Foster’s death remains a tragic and polarizing event, emblematic of the broader tensions surrounding the 2020 protests. Foster, who was actively participating in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, was remembered by his family and friends as a passionate advocate for social justice. His commitment to the cause and his untimely death have left an indelible mark on those who knew him.

As Perry’s pardon takes effect, the debates it has ignited are likely to continue, reflecting the deep divisions within society over issues of justice, self-defense, and the right to protest. The legacy of this case will undoubtedly influence future discussions and legal interpretations of self-defense laws in Texas and beyond.

In the aftermath, both Perry’s supporters and critics are left to grapple with the implications of this decision. For Perry, the pardon offers a second chance and a controversial vindication of his actions. For Foster’s family and supporters, it represents a painful reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice and accountability in the face of systemic and individual acts of violence.

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