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Texas District Attorney Seeks Reversal of Pardon for Ex-Army Soldier Who Killed BLM Protester

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Travis County District Attorney José Garza has announced his intention to file a writ of mandamus with the Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse a pardon issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to former Army soldier Daniel Perry. Perry was pardoned for the shooting and killing of Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster during a protest in 2020. Garza criticized the pardon, stating that it went against the law and prioritized politics over justice. He believes that the courts must intervene to uphold the sanctity of the rule of law in the state.

The incident occurred in downtown Austin, where Perry, a former Fort Hood soldier, encountered protesters while driving. He claimed he fired his pistol in self-defense after Foster allegedly pointed an AK-47 rifle at him. However, witnesses testified that they did not see Foster raise his weapon, and prosecutors argued that Perry could have driven away without resorting to violence. Perry was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison before being pardoned by Abbott.

Garza’s decision to challenge the pardon has drawn attention to the intersection of politics and criminal justice in Texas. He has been a vocal advocate for reform within the system, and his office has previously made headlines for rejecting criminal charges, including some for violent offenses, before suspects appeared before a judge. By seeking to reverse the pardon, Garza hopes to hold both the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor accountable for what he believes was an unjust decision.

Critics, including Perry’s attorney Doug O’Connell, have characterized Garza’s move as “political theater” and expressed skepticism about the likelihood of success. O’Connell emphasized the well-established constitutional authority of the executive branch in issuing pardons and raised concerns about the motivations behind the challenge. Meanwhile, Shiela Foster, the mother of the late Garrett Foster, has condemned the pardon as a violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine and called for justice to be served in her son’s case.

The legal battle over the pardon is likely to reignite debates surrounding police violence, racial justice, and the use of force in protest situations. The shooting of Garrett Foster, who was carrying a rifle at the time of his death, sparked controversy and highlighted the complexities of self-defense claims in such contexts. As the case continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how the courts will navigate the competing legal arguments and considerations at play, and what implications the outcome may have for future cases of this nature.

In a broader sense, the dispute over the pardon underscores the ongoing challenges of ensuring accountability and fairness within the criminal justice system. The decisions made by prosecutors, governors, and other officials can have far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities affected by acts of violence. By taking a stand against what he sees as an unjust pardon, Garza is signaling his commitment to upholding the rule of law and seeking a measure of justice for those impacted by the tragedy in Austin. Ultimately, the outcome of this legal battle will have implications beyond the specific case of Daniel Perry, resonating with broader questions about power, accountability, and the pursuit of justice in society.

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