Texas Governor pardons Uber driver Daniel Perry convicted of murdering BLM protester

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has pardoned Uber driver Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protestor in 2020.

The pardon for the US Army Sergeant came after a unanimous recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Gov Abbott said Thursday afternoon.

“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,” Governor Abbott said in a statement.

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

Perry was convicted in April 2023 over the death of Black Lives Matter demonstrator Garrett Foster, who was also armed, during 2020 racial justice protests in Austin.

Even as Perry’s conviction and sentencing were handed down, the Governor was stating his intent to pursue a pardon.

He said at the time that Texas had “one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defence that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.”

On 25 July, 2020, Perry was working as an Uber driver in Austin, during a summer filled with numerous racial justice protests across US cities following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis smothered to death by police officers who knelt on his neck.

On the night of 25 July, Perry, who admitted he had been texting and driving distractedly, ran a red light and drove into the thick of a crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators, nearly hitting Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee.

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

Witnesses say Foster, who was white, gestured with his gun for the Uber driver to “move on.”

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

Shaky video of the moment, captured by journalist Hiram Gilberto, shows the car in a crowd of people. Honking can heard. Someone nearby says, “Everybody back up,” then shots from Perry’s .357 revolver ring out, as protesters scream and scatter.

Foster was killed.

Perry fled the scene, then reported the incident to police, saying he shot in self-defence after a weapon was pointed at him, according to the Texas Tribune.

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

Thursday’s proclamation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles backed Governor Abbott’s 2023 declaration.

The board had concluded that on the night of 25 July 2020, Perry’s car had been “surrounded by aggressive protestors who rushed to obstruct, strike, pound, smash, and kick his vehicle” on Congress Avenue in Austin.

As Garrett Foster had approached Perry’s vehicle “within 18 inches” and waved the firearm in his direction. the board found that he was justified in firing his gun “to eliminate a perceived threat to his safety”.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Source link