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Texas governor pardons Uber driver convicted of killing BLM protester

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pardoned an Uber driver convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester in Austin in the summer of 2020.

Daniel Perry shot and killed Garrett Foster, who was also armed, at a time when racial justice protests were rampant in America following the killing of George Floyd. In April 2023, Perry was convicted of murder.

On Thursday afternoon, just over a year after his conviction, Mr Abbott announced that he had pardoned the former US Army sergeant on the unanimous recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles conducted a comprehensive review of U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry’s personal history and the facts surrounding the July 2020 incident and recommended a full pardon and restoration of full civil rights to citizenship,” Abbott said in a statement.

“Among the extensive files the panel reviewed, they considered information from the Travis County District Attorney, the full investigative report on Daniel Perry, and a review of all statements made at trial.

“I thank the board for its thorough investigation and agree with its recommendation for a pardon.”

Perry was released from the Mac Stringfellow Unit in Rosharon shortly after the announcement.

Even as his conviction and sentence were announced, Mr. Abbott had made plans to pardon Perry.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a press conference at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas on February 4, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a press conference at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas on February 4, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a press conference at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas on February 4, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

He said at the time that Texas had “one of the strictest ‘Stand Your Ground’ self-defense laws that cannot be overturned by a jury or a progressive district attorney.”

On Thursday, Foster’s partner Whitney Mitchell announced The Austin American Statesman that the governor’s decision broke her heart.

“I loved Garrett Foster. I thought we would grow old together,” Mitchell said in a statement released by her attorney, Angelica Cogliano.

“He was the love of my life. He still is. This lawlessness breaks my heart. Governor Abbott has shown that only certain lives matter to him. It has made us all less safe.

“With this pardon, the governor has desecrated the life of a murdered Texan, called into question the fair verdict of this jury, and declared that citizens can be killed with impunity as long as they hold political views that differ from those of those in power.”

On the night of July 25, 2020 — a summer filled with racial justice protests — Perry was working as an Uber driver in Austin.

Perry, who admitted he was texting and driving while distracted, ran a red light and drove into the middle of a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, nearly hitting Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee.

Among the crowd was Mitchell’s husband, 28-year-old Air Force veteran Foster, who openly and legally carried an AK-47 rifle.

Witnesses said Foster, who is white, gestured with his gun at the Uber driver to “keep driving.”

According to a video shown to the jury, Perry told police in a later interview: “I think he was aiming at me. I didn’t want to give him a chance to target me.”

Blurry video of the moment, taken by journalist Hiram Gilberto, shows the car in a crowd.

A honk is heard before a voice nearby says, “Everyone back.”

Perry then opens fire with his .357 revolver, shooting Foster as the protesters scream and disperse.

Perry fled the scene, then reported the incident to police, claiming he acted in self-defense after a gun was pointed at him Texas Tribune.

He was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Daniel Perry in an Austin Police Department mugshot in 2020 (Austin Police Department)Daniel Perry in an Austin Police Department mugshot in 2020 (Austin Police Department)

Daniel Perry in an Austin Police Department mugshot in 2020 (Austin Police Department)

In Thursday’s statement, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles concluded that Perry’s car on Congress Avenue in Austin was “surrounded by aggressive protesters who blocked, punched, pounded, smashed and kicked his vehicle.”

Foster approached Perry’s vehicle “to within 18 inches” and waved the firearm in his direction, the agency said, concluding that he was justified in firing his weapon “to address a perceived threat to his safety.” to be excluded”.

The proclamation accused Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza of failing to protect this right to self-defense and instead prioritizing “restricting access to weapons.”

Thursday’s announcement means Perry will receive a full pardon and “restoration of all civil rights.”

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