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Texas Governor Pardons Man Convicted of Murdering BLM Protester

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has granted a full pardon to Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murdering Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in downtown Austin in July 2020. This decision followed a unanimous recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, according to USA Today. Perry, who was driving into a racial justice protest, claimed he shot Foster in self-defense after Foster, who was carrying an AK-47 rifle, allegedly threatened him.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles announced their recommendation on Thursday, stating that their decision came after a “meticulous review of pertinent documents, from police reports to court records, witness statements, and interviews with individuals linked to the case.” Governor Abbott quickly approved the recommendation, emphasizing Texas’ strong “Stand Your Ground” laws in his statement. “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. “I thank the Board for its thorough investigation, and I approve their pardon recommendation.”

Perry was found guilty of murder in April 2023, but less than 24 hours after the jury’s verdict, Governor Abbott expressed his intention to pardon Perry if recommended by the Board. This stance followed pressure from prominent conservative figures who called for the overturning of Perry’s conviction.

The decision to pardon Perry has sparked significant debate. Shortly after the announcement, a state district judge unsealed court records revealing Perry’s previously unreleased messages and social media posts, which contained racist rhetoric. This has intensified the controversy surrounding the pardon and raised questions about the motivations behind Perry’s actions.

Doug O’Connell, Perry’s attorney, declined to comment, stating he was awaiting further action from the governor. Meanwhile, Angelica Cogliano, representing Foster’s girlfriend, Whitney Mitchell, also refrained from immediate comment. Mitchell had earlier expressed her devastation at the prospect of a pardon, stating, “I feel like everything was put out there, the evidence, everything we went through and all I can say is it is devastating and just brings it up all over again.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced it is working “expeditiously to release Daniel Perry,” though an exact timeline for his release remains unclear. Perry is currently housed in the Mac Stringfellow Unit in Rosharon, approximately 30 miles south of Houston.

The pardon of Daniel Perry by Governor Abbott highlights ongoing tensions and differing perspectives on self-defense laws, justice, and racial issues in America. The immediate effects of this decision and its broader implications will likely continue to spark debate and influence discussions on legal and social reforms.