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Published on May 17, 2024
Gov. Abbott Springs Convicted Shooter with Controversial Pardon Amid 'Stand Your Ground' Clash in TexasSource: Wikipedia/Greg Abbott

In an unexpected turn of events, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has granted a full pardon to Daniel Perry, a former US Army sergeant convicted last year for the 2020 shooting of a Black Lives Matter protester. Following the unanimous recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Perry was released from prison on Thursday. The board, having conducted an exhaustive review of the case, presented their decision to the governor, who praised the 'Stand Your Ground' laws and criticized what he deemed a progressive District Attorney's attempt to undermine them, as reported by FOX San Antonio.

Perry, who was stationed at Fort Hood, encountered Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran, during a protest in Austin, Texas. Claimed he acted in self-defense, Perry fatally shot Foster after running a red light and driving into a crowd. The board's recommendation comes after a thorough investigation that included a review of various documents, although it has drawn substantial criticism, with the Travis County District Attorney's office blasting Abbott's actions as "dangerous" and "political gamesmanship." "I am baffled actually, I just cannot believe this is my life and this is what's happening," Sheila Foster, Garrett's mother told FOX San Antonio amidst dealing with a barrage of troubling messages after the pardon was announced.

Abbott's direction for the parole board to look into a potential pardon came right after Perry's conviction, sparking immediate backlash from various parties. Despite the jury's guilty verdict and the 25-year prison sentence given to Perry, the governor held firm on his belief in the 'Stand Your Ground' law, as explained in his statement. Garnering wide attention, Foster's family was left both shocked and heartbroken by the decision. In a statement obtained by CNN, Sheila Foster expressed her unimaginable loss and confusion at the sudden release of the man convicted of killing her son, claiming "everything that has happened is wrong on so many levels."

While Perry's attorney relayed his client's elation at the news, the move by Gov. Abbott has been perceived as a blow to the integrity of the judicial system by many. Democrats in the state decried the pardon, with Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa condemning the action as a sign that Republican leadership cannot promise public safety. Whitney Mitchell, Foster's partner, described her devastation and fears in a statement saying, "Governor Abbott has made us all less safe," as noted by CNN. Perry's past social media posts and a stream of racist comments were highlighted during the trial, painting a picture of a man at odds with the progressive movements witnessed across the country.