Saturday, May 06, 2023

Sgt Perry and Austin Shooting, Murder Conviction and Potential Pardon

Detective  Illustrates position of Foster with AK47 semi-auto at Perry Trial (image from Fox coverage of trial)

On July 25, 2020, Sgt. Daniel Perry unexpectedly turned into a Black Lives Matter protest a little before 10 p.m. on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. His right of way was blocked by protestors who surrounded the vehicle, beat on it and kicked it.

Garret Foster, one of the protestors, openly armed with an AK47 style semi-automatic rifle, approached Perry's driver's side window and motioned for him to roll down the window.

After Sgt Perry  rolled down the window, He says Foster raised the rifle towards him, and he fired in self defense. Another protestor fired at Perry's vehicle as protestors scattered and he drove out of the danger zone.  Perry immediately called 911 and told police what had happened.  At this link, defense attorneys give Perry's version of events.

The initial investigation by Austin police found the case was one of self-defense.  Foster appears to have been masked when he approached the car.

No one was arrested or prosecuted. Sgt Perry fully cooperated with the police.

On November 3, 3030, Jos√© Garza was elected the Travis County District Attorney.  Austin is in Travis County.

In 2021, Garza convened a grand jury and obtained controversial indictments against Perry, in which a Police Detective David Fugitt  complained of Garza's bias against Perry.

The Grand Jury returned three indictments in July of 2021. They were reported as for Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Misdemeanor Deadly conduct.

A trial was held during March and April of 2023. The trial took nearly a week.  Detective Fugitt testified at the trial.

The prosecution attempted to paint Perry's drive into the protest as aggressive. That apparently failed as the Jury refused to convict on Aggravated Assault.

Sgt Perry has been convicted of murder. The jury deliberated for 17 hours.

Texas Governor Abbot has asked the Texas board of pardons to examine the case and give him a recommendation, indicating he is willing to give a pardon. Governor Abbot, by Texas law, may only issue a pardon if it is recommended by the board.

Analysis: The prosecution worked very hard to convict Sgt. Perry. They data mined all his social media posts to find any evidence of his political affiliations and mindset. They found expressions of hostility toward BLM protestors, and a willingness to defend himself against them. These were portrayed as a desire to murder protestors.

It is clear to this observer;  BLM protestors are trained and encouraged to provoke vehicle drivers by blocking vehicles, then beating on the vehicles. In addition, a number of drivers at protests have been dragged from their vehicles and beaten, or if they refused to stop, were shot at. Protestors uniformly characterize these events, where protestor block vehicles and beat on the vehicles, as "aggression" by the people in the vehicles. Video of protestors running to get in front of oncoming vehicles to block them, has been recorded. From the second day of the trial:

“He said, ‘Hey, stay in the car, get back in the car,’ and sort of gestured at his gun like, you don’t really want to start anything right now,” Lett said.

The defense’s argument from the beginning is that Perry—swarmed by protesters—had to defend himself. Several witnesses did admit they kicked, hit and even banged on Perry’s car. But all said this was after he sped into the crowd.

Lett, too, admits he kicked Perry’s car.

Notice: Perry's car was stopped when the protestors kicked, hit, and banged on it. At that moment, it was not a threat.

The prosecutor stated, in court, that Foster had every right to be in the street with his AK47 style rifle, as collaborators blocked Perry and beat on his vehicle, raising alarm and fear. The protestors were portrayed as the victims. In Texas, this can be argued, because protestors are not breaking the law by blocking streets, unless authorities have told them to disperse.

Activists among protestors are taught to lie in these cases, so as to present themselves as the victims. They are indoctrinated into self-identifying as victims. There is conflicting testimony as to whether Foster raised the rifle toward Perry. Activist protestors, and Foster's fiancee, have ample reason to "remember" events in a fashion which portray Perry in a bad light.

Prosecutors reported Foster's rifle was recovered without a round in the chamber and with the safety on.  That might indicate something about Foster's mindset, but it has little to do with Perry's understanding of the threat he was facing.

Major differences and similarities exist in this case and the case of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In both cases, the prosecution seems politically biased against the defendant.

A major difference is the lack of clear video evidence in the Sgt Perry case in Austin. This allowed the prosecution to dispute Sgt Perry's version of events. In the Rittenhouse case, the video made clear, Mr. Grosskruetz pointed his pistol at Kyle Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse shot people who had police records. Perry shot a sympathetic Air Force veteran.

Rittenhouse did not have any social media records showing hostility toward protestors.

Public opinion in Texas seems strongly in favor of Sgt Perry. A previous Texas Governor pardoned John Wesley Hardin, who claimed self-defense, but the pardon happened after years spent in prison.  Hardin was pardoned in 1894 by Governor Jim Hogg. Hardin was a famous gunfighter who had spent 15 years in prison for the death of Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb.

Opinion: In politically deep blue Austin, Texas, Sgt. Perry's online comments about self defense against protestors were a major factor in the conviction by the jury.  Readers would do well to understand, in the digital age, everything you put online, can easily be used against you in a court of law.

In context, it is likely Sgt. Daniel Perry's comments are defensible. In a county which elects far left public officials, even people who block streets, beat on vehicles they block and stop, and implicitly threaten the driver with an AK47 style rifle, may be portrayed as the victims.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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