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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to pardon man convicted of murdering BLM protester

A Texas man who was convicted of murder for shooting dead a Black Lives Matter protester in July 2020 will likely receive a pardon from the state’s controversial Gov. Greg Abbott. File Photo by Doug Mills/UPI
A Texas man who was convicted of murder for shooting dead a Black Lives Matter protester in July 2020 will likely receive a pardon from the state’s controversial Gov. Greg Abbott. File Photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) -- A Texas man who was convicted of murder for shooting dead a Black Lives Matter protester in July 2020 will likely receive a pardon from the state's controversial Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott, who once joked about shooting reporters, said in a statement on Twitter that he would be "working as swiftly as Texas law allows: to pardon Daniel Perry."

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"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 claimed in his statement.

Abbott noted that Texas law allows him to request that the Board of Pardons and Paroles determine whether a person should be granted a pardon. Texas law only allows the governor the ability to issue a pardon after a recommendation has been made by the board.

"I have made that request and instructed the board to expedite its review," Abbott said.

Abbott appeared certain that the board would agree to recommend a pardon, stating that he anticipated approving it "as soon as it hits my desk."

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"Additionally, I have already prioritized reining in rogue District Attorneys, and the Texas Legislature is working on laws to achieve that goal," Abbott said.

It was not immediately clear who such district attorneys are accused of going rogue against. District attorneys in Texas are elected officials and have original jurisdiction and discretion to pursue alleged violations of the law. The state Attorney General has no role or oversight of their decisions.

Perry, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, was found guilty Friday of murdering Garrett Foster, shooting the protester five times as he approached his car while allegedly carrying an AK-47 during a march after the death of George Floyd, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

His lawyers said during his eight-day trial that the 28-year-old Foster raised his weapon at Perry before he was shot dead and that the soldier had fired in self-defense. Witnesses said that Foster never raised his weapon and no video or photos shown at the trial indicated that he did.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that Perry had demonstrated strong anger towards the protesters in posts made to social media, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Perry also reportedly said people could get away with shooting protesters in Texas.

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"This is an age-old story about a man who couldn't keep his anger under control," prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez said. "It's not about police, and it's not about protest marchers."

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