Texas Gov. Greg Abbott seeks pardon for man convicted in murder of Black Lives Matter protester

District Attorney José Garza called Abbott's move 'deeply troubling.'

ByKiara Alfonseca ABCNews logo
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Texas governor hopes to pardon convicted murderer
Gov. Gregg Abbott looks to pardon Army sergeant convicted of shooting and killing a protestor in 2021 amid nationwide social injustice protests after the death of George Floyd.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he is "working as swiftly as Texas law allows" to pardon Daniel Perry, who was convicted Friday of murder in the fatal shooting of a protester at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020.

Perry, an active-duty U.S. Army sergeant based in Texas at Fort Hood, was working as a driver for a ride-sharing company when he drove onto a street crowded with protesters on July 25, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

Garrett Foster, 28, was pushing his fiancee in a wheelchair during the protest when police say Perry's car was surrounded by protesters.

Foster, who was carrying an AK-47-type rifle, approached Perry's car when he was shot several times by Perry, according to police. Open carry is legal in Texas.

Perry's attorneys argued at trial he had no choice but to shoot Foster for his own protection, according to ABC affiliate KVUE.

Prosecutors argued that Perry could have driven away before firing.

Witnesses testified at the trial that Foster never raised his rifle at Perry, however, Perry told police that Foster did raise the rifle, according to local outlet Austin American-Statesman. Perry did not testify in trial.

Both of the men are white.

Abbott slammed both the jury's decision to convict Perry and Travis County District Attorney José Garza for pursuing the case.

"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 an online statement.

He said the Texas Constitution limits his pardon authority to the cases recommended by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. He said he requested the Board of Pardons and Paroles to take up Perry's case and determine if he should be granted a pardon.

"Additionally, I have already prioritized reining in rogue district attorneys and the Texas Legislature is working on laws to achieve that goal," he said.

District Attorney Garza fired back, arguing, "in a state that believes in upholding the importance of the rule of law, the Governor's statement that he will intervene in the legal proceedings surrounding the death of Garrett Foster is deeply troubling," he said in a statement sent to ABC News.

Garza continued, "In our legal system, a jury ... gets to decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent - not the Governor."

Foster's father Stephen Foster told KVUE News that his family is "happy with the verdict. We're very sorry for his family as well. There's no winners in this. Just glad it's over."

Perry's attorney Clint Broden told ABC News that their focus is on the upcoming sentencing hearing, where they plan to zero-in on Perry's "character and his service to our country as a member of our military for the past 12 years."