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After Daniel Perry's pardon, 14 states ask the Justice Department to revisit his murder charge

Daniel Perry, center, and his attorney Doug O’Connell walk out of the courtroom during jury deliberations last month in his trial in the shooting death of Garrett Foster.
Jay Janner
Austin American-Statesman (pool)
Daniel Perry, center, and his attorney Doug O’Connell walk out of court during jury deliberations in his murder trial last year.

Attorneys general in 14 states are calling for federal intervention after Gov. Greg Abbott pardoned Daniel Perry for murder this month.

Perry fatally shot Garrett Foster at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin in July 2020. Foster, who was armed, got into an altercation with Perry after Perry attempted to drive into the protest.

Perry was convicted by a jury in 2023, and then sentenced to 25 years in prison. Abbott pardoned Perry this month after a recommendation from a state board. The board consists of members who were all appointed by the governor.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York Attorney General Letitia James called on the federal government to investigate whether Perry violated Foster's federal civil rights.

"We urge the Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Perry violated federal criminal law," James wrote. "Texas law does not prevent a federal prosecution for Mr. Perry’s act of killing someone for racial reasons in order to prevent him from exercising constitutional rights."

James cited the racist language used by Perry in the lead-up to shooting Foster, as well as previous messages he'd sent suggesting that he was going to shoot demonstrators in July 2020.

Abbott defended the state's so-called stand-your-ground law in his pardon, saying the state protection "cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney."

Thirteen other attorneys general, all of whom are Democrats, signed James' letter, arguing the Department of Justice has the ability to intervene, citing the 2018 prosecution of an Ohio man in the death of Heather Heyer.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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