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Justice

Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Air National Guard, Dawn M. Ferrell
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX. Photo credit: US Air National Guard / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED)

In a highly political move, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) pardoned a man who had gunned down a legally armed Black Lives Matter protester. 

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As it turns out, you can get away with murder in Texas… as long as you are killing the right people.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday demonstrated that by pardoning Daniel Perry, who killed a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protester in 2020 and was subsequently convicted of murder in a jury trial.

There is a lot to unwrap here because many different issues intersect in this case. 

First of all, Abbott is a hypocrite. 

A year ago, he tweeted that the “weaponization of our courts for political grievances is an abhorrent abuse of power.”

In this case, the courts did their job, but Abbott didn’t like the outcome because the person who did the shooting was a right-winger with a history of making racist comments, and the person who did the dying was a BLM protester.

By approving the pardon, based on a recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, he clearly politicized his authority. 

Oh, by the way, if you are thinking, “Well, if this board recommended it, it must all be on the up-and-up,” not so fast. The members of the board are appointed by the governor. 

Second, there is the issue of guns — who can show them in public and who can use them to shoot other people. 

Garrett Foster, the victim, obviously was not allowed to have a gun even though he checked all of the demographic boxes of what makes a “good guy” in the Lone Star State. Foster was a young white male who served in the Air Force (by the way, all of the above also apply to Perry… apart from him serving in the Army).

On the day of his murder, Foster was just on the “wrong” side because he participated in a BLM protest. As is his right (though it shouldn’t be), he brought an AK-47-style rifle. 

Perry, who had been researching where BLM protests were held and had made comments indicating that he wanted to commit acts of violence against participants, was working as an Uber driver at the time but did not have a passenger in his car when he turned onto a street where the march was taking place. 

At trial, he claimed that people were banging on his car (which is not a capital offense in Texas) and that Foster raised his weapon. This is something some witnesses disputed, and it makes no sense at all. Why would a protester just open fire on someone in a car?

But, as Perry tells it, that is what happened, and, fearing for his life, he fired his revolver five times before taking off. 

To Abbott, this all sounded totally legit. After all, Perry was one of the “good guys.” 

In his declaration approving the pardon, the governor stated that Perry was absolutely within his rights to murder Foster. 

“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,” he stated. 

Well, that does sound political… and also insane. 

Abbott takes pride in the fact that Texas allows people to carry just about any type of gun anywhere they want but also thinks anybody who feels threatened can just shoot another person.

That’s plain nuts… especially if a right-wing governor then gets to decide who serves time for taking a life. 

Imagine that the person who did the shooting had been an immigrant taking a stroll near the border and getting accosted by an armed vigilante on “patrol.”

There is no way he would be allowed to “stand his ground,” which shows that these laws are simply a way to let some people get away with murder. 

And Perry just did.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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