“Absolutely insane”: Greg Abbott vows to pardon sergeant convicted of killing BLM protester

Daniel Perry tweeted that he "might have to kill a few people" on his way to work

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 10, 2023 10:32AM (EDT)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference on March 15, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference on March 15, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowed to facilitate the pardon of Daniel Perry, an army sergeant convicted of fatally gunning down a racial justice protester at a 2020 Black Lives Matter rally in Austin.

Perry, 35, who is white, was convicted Friday by a Travis County jury in the murder of Garrett Foster, who was also white.

Perry was indicted in 2021 and was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct, per CNN.

Perry, who was also working as an Uber driver in 2020, tweeted that he "might have to kill a few people" on his way to work, subsequently revving his car into a crowd of protestors.

Foster, who was pushing his fiancée's wheelchair, approached Perry's car while legally holding an AK-47 rifle. Perry proceeded to shoot Foster four times with his .357 Magnum pistol, later admitting to police that Foster had not pointed his weapon at him.

"I didn't want to give him a chance to aim at me," Perry said.

Foster was protesting the 2020 murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Following the conviction, Abbott wrote in a Saturday tweet that he was "working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry." 

 "I have made that request and instructed the Board to expedite its review," Abbott's statement said. "I look forward to approving the Board's pardon as soon as it hits my desk."

Travis County District Attorney José Garza called the governor's comments "deeply troubling."

"Make no mistake, without intervention from the Governor, the defendant's conviction would be reviewed by both state and federal courts who will examine the record to ensure that no legal errors were made at this level and that the evidence supported the conviction," Garza said in a statement.

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"Absolutely insane," tweeted Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett. "Less than 24 hours ago Daniel Perry was convicted by a jury of murder—after he shot a protestor point-blank during a BLM rally blocks away from the state Capitol. Greg Abbott says he is working to pardon Perry one day later."

Keith Boykin, political commentator and former White House aide to Bill Clinton, called Abbott's staunch support of Perry evidence that "'Law and order' is a lie. It's open season for racism in America."

Former Travis County criminal court judge David Wahlberg called Abbott's seeking of a pardon "outrageously presumptuous."

"I think it's outrageously presumptuous for someone to make a judgment about the verdict of 12 unanimous jurors without actually hearing the evidence in person," he told the Austin American-Statesman.

Wendy Davis, an attorney and former Texas Senate representative, called Abbott's decision "nothing more than a craven political maneuver."

"Our democracy is imperiled when any branch of government moves to usurp another," she tweeted on Saturday. "And it's happening all over this country on a regular basis."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Aggregate Daniel Perry Garrett Foster Greg Abbott Politics