Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a full pardon and restoration of rights on Thursday for Daniel Perry, a 35-year-old US Army sergeant convicted of fatally shooting a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020. Perry, who was working as an Uber driver at the time of the incident, faced 25 years in prison for the murder of 28-year-old Air Force veteran Garrett Foster, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle during the confrontation.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a full pardon for Daniel Perry, a US Army sergeant convicted of shooting Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in 2020. (Austin Police Department via AP, File)
Daniel Perry (Austin Police Department via AP, File)

“The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles conducted an exhaustive 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 of Citizenship,” Abbott said in a statement on Thursday. “Among the voluminous files reviewed by the Board, they considered information provided by the Travis County District Attorney, the full investigative report on Daniel Perry, plus a review of all the testimony provided at trial.”

“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 continued. “I thank the Board for its thorough investigation, and I approve their pardon recommendation.”

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On the night of July 25, 2020, just after dropping off an Uber fare downtown, Perry encountered a group of armed protesters who had taken over Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas during a large-scale BLM anti-police protest. Among those protesters was Foster, who was seen wearing a mask and open-carrying his legally-owned AK-47 during the protest.

Accounts of what transpired next conflict. Perry’s attorneys claimed that the protesters surrounded the vehicle and Foster pointed his rifle at the driver as a direct threat; prosecutors argued that Perry deliberately ran a red light and drove his car into the crowd to purposely cause a confrontation, and Foster only aimed his gun in response to Perry’s threatening approach.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a full pardon for Daniel Perry, a US Army sergeant convicted of shooting Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in 2020.
A photo from the scene seems to show Foster (left) aiming his rifle at Perry’s car (left).
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a full pardon for Daniel Perry, a US Army sergeant convicted of shooting Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in 2020.
Garrett Foster and girlfriend Whitney Mitchell

Upon seeing the rifle aimed in his direction, Perry fired five shots from his handgun and drove away. Foster, who was hit by several shots, did not fire back, but another armed protester fired three rounds at the car as Perry fled. Foster later died of his injuries.

Immediately after the shooting, Perry called 9-1-1 and turned himself in to law enforcement, maintaining that he had only fired in self-defense.

“I made a wrong turn, a guy pointed a freakin’ weapon at me and I panicked. I don’t know what to do. I’m just an Uber driver. I made a wrong turn; I’ve never had to shoot someone before. They started shooting back at me, and I got out of the area,” Perry told the operator during the call.

Both Perry and the shooter who returned fire were detained after the incident. Perry cooperated fully with police, even turning over his phone and social media passwords immediately and without a warrant.

In April 2023, Perry was convicted of Foster’s murder by a jury in Democratic Travis County but was found not guilty of a lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon. District Attorney Jose Garza, whose election campaign was supported in part by billionaire megadonor George Soros, oversaw the prosecution.

Within hours of the verdict, Governor Abbott pledged to pardon Perry.

Under Texas law, executive pardons can only be granted in response to recommendations from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Abbott urged the board to grant one as soon as possible. This motion was also endorsed by prominent conservative voices and political figures.

The DA’s office countered this pledge by unsealing previously unseen court documents that detailed allegedly violent and racist messages and social media posts from Perry, which prosecutors argued proved his prior intent to harm protesters.

Within an hour of Abbott’s pardon, Perry was released from prison with all charges dismissed and his right to gun ownership restored. He also now has the option of petitioning to have his record expunged.

“Daniel Perry was imprisoned for 372 days and lost the military career that he loved,” Doug O’Connell, an attorney who represents Perry, said in a statement. “The action by Governor Abbott and the Pardon Board corrects the courtroom travesty which occurred over a year ago and represents justice in this case.”

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Valuetainment.com. Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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