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Gov. Abbott Pardons Killer of Black Lives Matter Protester: Justice or Outrage?

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Full Pardon Issued by Governor Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott granted a full pardon on Thursday to former U.S. Army sergeant Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murder for fatally shooting a black lives matter protester during the 2020 nationwide demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice. This pardon followed a unanimous recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which also restored Perry’s firearms rights.

Details of the Conviction and Pardon

Daniel Perry had been serving a 25-year sentence following his 2023 conviction for the killing of Garrett Foster. Perry, who is white, was a ride-share driver in Austin when he encountered the demonstration. Prosecutors argued he could have avoided the confrontation with Foster, a white Air Force veteran. Despite this, Governor Abbott described the incident as a case of self-defense, emphasizing Texas’ strong “Stand Your Ground” laws.

“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 stated.

Controversy and Criticism

The decision to pardon Perry has sparked significant controversy. Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza criticized the move as a “mockery of our legal system,” accusing the board and the governor of prioritizing politics over justice. The pardon followed intense pressure from conservative commentators, including former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who called for Perry’s release.

Defense attorney Clint Broden defended Perry’s actions, asserting that he acted in self-defense when faced with an armed crowd. Broden expressed gratitude for the board’s review and the state’s laws that protect citizens’ rights to self-defense.

Reactions and Implications

Garrett Foster’s girlfriend, Whitney Mitchell, condemned the pardon, calling it an act of “lawlessness” and accusing Governor Abbott of disrespecting the jury’s verdict. She argued that the pardon sets a dangerous precedent for political bias in matters of justice.

The shooting, which occurred during the heated climate of the 2020 protests following George Floyd’s death, had already ignited intense debate. Perry’s conviction and the subsequent pardon have further polarized opinions, especially among prominent conservatives who view the incident as a clear-cut case of self-defense.

Question Before the Law

Governor Abbott’s decision to pardon the ex-Army sergeant convicted of murder underscores the complexities and contentious nature of self-defense laws in Texas. While some celebrate the pardon as a victory for self-defense rights, others criticize it for undermining the legal process and justice for Garrett Foster. The incident continues to provoke strong reactions and reflects broader societal divides over issues of justice, self-defense, and political influence.

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