On Friday, a US Army sergeant was found guilty of killing a protester at a Black Lives Matter rally. On Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would pardon the soldier.
The Republican said that Sgt. Daniel Perry, 35, was just protecting himself when he fired his handgun several times at 28-year-old Garrett Foster as he marched in the July 25, 2020 Austin protest.
“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 said in a statement.
The governor said that the conviction on Friday was due to the fact that the county’s Democratic District Attorney José Garza was backed by George Soros. He also promised to stop “rogue District Attorneys.”
In a Twitter reply, Abbot said that he “strongly supports” a supporting theory that Garza “intentionally mislead the Grand Jury” throughout the trial.
Abbott said he is requesting that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles “expedite” a review of Perry’s case and recommend a pardon, a power the state constitution limits him from making.
“I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk,” he said.
Since the shooting, almost three years ago, Perry has said that he shot Foster only after the protester pointed an AK-47 at his car.
Foster was wearing a neoprene vest under his T-shirt and had an AK-47, a club, and a knife with him. Perry’s lawyers said that Foster raised his gun first, which made Perry shoot his handgun in self-defense.
Witnesses, on the other hand, said that Foster never raised the gun and that he was pushing the wheelchair of his black, quadriplegic fiancée when he was killed. Both Foster and Perry are white.
Prosecutors also showed old social media posts Perry had made that showed how strongly he felt against protests. For example, in some posts, the Army sergeant said that people could shoot protesters in Texas and get away with it.
Perry cried Friday when he heard that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
“I visited Daniel in jail this morning. As you might expect, he is devastated. He spoke to me about his fears that he will never get to hug his Mother again. He’s also crushed that this conviction will end his Army service; he loves being a Soldier,” his lawyer, Doug O’Connell, said.
“Our entire team is physically & mentally exhausted after the last two weeks of trial. The battle is not over – we will continue to fight for Daniel.”