May 24, 2024

On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott approved a full pardon for Daniel Perry, an Uber driver who shot and killed anti-police brutality protester Garrett Foster in 2020. Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Texas state district court judge in May 2023.

But that’s not all that came with the pardon. In a disturbing move, Abbott also restored Perry’s firearm rights.

“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 said in a statement announcing the pardon.

Abbott, a far-right governor who has openly feuded with the federal government about migrants and LGBTQ+ rights—and sent swarms of state troopers to violently clear college Gaza Solidarity Encampments—has sought to pardon Perry since he was convicted.

Stand Your Ground laws were popularized and brought into law by conservative legislators following the vigilante murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. The laws serve to negate “duty to retreat,” which are contrasting sets of laws prohibiting the use of deadly force in situations where a person could reasonably flee to safety.

In 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests that year, Perry encountered a protest while driving for Uber in Austin, Texas. According to Austin police, Perry stopped his car, honking at the protestors, before driving his car into the march. Perry then shot Garrett Foster, who was legally open carrying an AK-47 while pushing his fiancée’s wheelchair. Perry’s attorneys argued Foster raised his rifle at Perry and he acted in self-defense, but witness testimony and video from the march disputed these claims. After his murder conviction, messages and posts by Perry self-identifying as “a racist” and wanting to “go to Dallas to shoot looters” were released to the public.

Abbott pushed to secure a pardon for Perry immediately after he was sentenced, directing the parole board to review the case the day after the 2023 verdict. Abbott’s pardon was announced almost immediately after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended it, The Texas Tribune reported Thursday.