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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pardoned former Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, who was convicted last year for killing an Air Force veteran at a 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Perry served as an Army infantryman from January 2012 until March 19, 2024, Army spokesman Bryce Dubee told Task & Purpose. His last rank was E-1 private.

In July 2020, Perry shot and killed Garrett Foster after driving an Uber into a crowd of protesters in downtown Austin. Foster was carrying an AK-47 at the time and Perry’s defense attorneys argued that the shooting was in self-defense.

Shortly after Perry’s April 2023 conviction, a judge unsealed documents that the jury had not seen during the trial that included private messages Perry had sent before the shooting in which he expressed his desire to kill Muslims and protesters.

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In one message, Perry wrote: “Black Lives Matter is racist to white people…It is official I am racist because I do not agree with people acting like monkeys.”

Abbott announced on Thursday that he had approved a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to pardon Perry following an “exhaustive review” of the case.

“Among the voluminous files reviewed by the Board, they considered information provided by the Travis County District Attorney, the full investigative report on Daniel Perry, plus a review of all the testimony provided at trial,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws on self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.”

Foster’s partner, Whitney Mitchell provided a statement through her attorney condemning Abbott’s decision, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“With this pardon, the Governor has desecrated the life of a murdered Texan, impugned that jury’s just verdict, and declared that citizens can be killed with impunity as long as they hold political views that are different from those in power,” Mitchell said in the statement.

The office of Doug O’Connell, Perry’s defense attorney, issued a statement on Thursday that neither Perry nor members of his family would be available for interviews.

O’Connell thanked both Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole and argued that Foster had threatened his client with a weapon. He also said he had spoken to Perry, who wishes the event had never happened and he recognizes that the Foster family is grieving.

“Daniel Perry was imprisoned for 372 days and lost the military career that he loved,” O’Connell said in a statement. “The action by Governor Abbott and the Pardon Board corrects the courtroom travesty which occurred over a year ago and represents true justice in this case. We intend to fight to get Daniel’s military service characterization upgraded to an Honorable Discharge.”

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