Soldier convicted of killing BLM protester to be sentenced; governor promises pardon

Daniel Perry (right) was convicted of killing Garrett Foster (pictured with his fiancee Whitney Mitchell)

Jessica Schladebeck
New York Daily News

Daniel Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised to pardon following his murder conviction last month, is slated to be sentenced on Tuesday for killing a Black Lives Matter protester.

Perry was working as a rideshare driver when he shot and killed 28-year-old Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran, during a racial justice rally in Austin on July 25, 2020. The deadly violence came amid a summer of protests triggered by police violence nationwide, including the death of George Floyd, who was killed by officers in Minneapolis just months earlier.

Perry served in the military for more than a decade and was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles north of Austin. He had just dropped off a customer in the moments before he turned onto a street packed with people. The Army Sergeant said he was trying to maneuver his way through the crowd when he was approached by Foster, who was legally armed with an AK-47.

According to prosecutors, Foster motioned for Perry to lower his window, at which time the soldier shot his own gun.

Perry’s legal team unsuccessfully argued his actions were justified and that he was acting in self-defense. Witnesses testified that they did not see Foster raise his weapon — as Perry claimed — with prosecutors contending the soldier could have driven away without shooting.

In April, jurors unanimously voted to convict him of murder, though the verdict was immediately met with pushback from critics, among them former Fox News star Tucker Carlson.

Abbott, a Republican leader who has not ruled out a 2024 presidential run, similarly balked at the ruling. He said he would fight to pardon Perry and that he’d already asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to expedite a review of the case.

Per Texas law, the governor can only order Perry’s release with the board’s approval. It is currently reviewing the case. It’s not clear when the parole board will reach a decision.

“I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” the Republican governor said in a tweet after the conviction. “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.”

After the trial, the court unsealed dozens of pages of text messages and social media posts suggesting Perry harbored negative feelings toward the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, held nationwide in protest of police brutality.

“I might go to Dallas to shoot looters,” Perry wrote in one text following Floyd’s death.

He is facing up to 99 years in prison.

With News Wire Services

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