Texas Governor Pardons Army Sergeant For 2020 BLM March Shooting

 May 16, 2024

In a controversial decision, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has granted a full pardon to former U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry.

Perry was previously convicted for the fatal shooting of Garrett Foster, an armed participant in a Black Lives Matter march in 2020, Fox News reported.

The pardon was influenced by an immediate recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. By state law, the Governor’s pardon relies on such recommendations. The quick sequence of events saw the Board propose the pardon just minutes before Governor Abbott's official announcement.

Examining the Incident and Judicial Outcome

Daniel Perry, who had served over ten years in the Army including a stint in Afghanistan, was stationed at Fort Cavazos at the time of the incident. During the march, a confrontation occurred, culminating in Perry shooting Foster, who was reportedly armed.

Perry’s legal defense argued that Foster had raised his rifle, propelling Perry to act in self-defense under Texas’s stringent ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.

The Board reviewed extensive materials including the full investigative report on Perry, trial testimonies, and input from the Travis County District Attorney. Following this, they recommended not only Perry’s pardon but also the restoration of his firearms rights.

Community and Political Reactions Diverge

Despite the legal proceedings that led to a 25-year prison sentence for Perry, Governor Abbott commended the Board's thorough investigation. "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," stated Abbott. He expressed approval of the Board’s recommendations, emphasizing the alignment with Texan self-defense laws.

Douglas K. O'Connell, attorney for Perry, remarked on his client's sentiments regarding the unfortunate incident:

The board and the governor have put their politics over justice. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some lives do not. They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter.

Polarizing Opinions on the Pardon

The decision has faced fierce criticism from some quarters, particularly from Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza. Garza expressed profound disappointment with the pardon, arguing that it politicized justice and undermined the judicial system’s integrity.

The case and subsequent pardon come amidst a complex backdrop of national discussions around gun rights, self-defense laws, and racial justice protests. Governor Abbott's decision underscores the ongoing disputes over the interpretation and application of self-defense laws in armed confrontations during public demonstrations.

As Perry prepares for reintegration with his family, the debates his case has spurred are likely to resonate far beyond the borders of Texas.

This case not only highlights the tensions between legal interpretations and public sentiment but also probes the depths of American values concerning justice and self-defense.

To summarize, the pardon of Daniel Perry by Governor Abbott following a murder conviction in the 2020 shooting at a Black Lives Matter march has ignited significant controversy. It reflects the complex interplay of state law, governance, and the differing perceptions of justice in America.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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