AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Saturday he would pardon a U.S. Army sergeant convicted of murder in the fatal 2020 shooting of an armed protester during nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Abbott tweeted that because the state constitution limits him to pardons only upon the recommendation of the state board of pardons and paroles, he is asking the board to recommend a pardon and expedite his request to have Sgt. Daniel Perry.
“I look forward to approving the board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it reaches my desk,” Abbott wrote.
Perry was convicted Friday by a Travis County jury of fatally shooting 28-year-old Garrett Foster during a protest in Austin. He faces life in prison if convicted.
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be overturned by a jury or progressive prosecutor,” Abbott said.
A phone call to District Attorney José Garza’s office on Saturday went unanswered.
Perry’s lawyers argued that the shooting was self-defense as Foster approached Perry’s car with an AK-47 rifle. Prosecutors said Perry could have driven off before firing his revolver and witnesses testified that Foster never pointed his gun at Perry.
Perry, who was charged in 2021, was stationed at Ft. Hood about 70 miles north of Austin in July 2020 when he was working for a ride-sharing company and turned down a street and encountered a large crowd of protesters in downtown Austin.
In video streaming live on Facebook, a car can be heard honking its horn before several shots ring out and protesters begin to scream and disperse.
When Foster was killed, protesters in Austin and beyond marched the streets for weeks following the police killing of George Floyd.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to the black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s murder was caught on video by a bystander and sparked global protests as part of a wider reckoning over racial injustice.