(Houston) In a rare move, the Republican governor of Texas said he was ready to pardon an Uber driver convicted on Friday of killing a protester during the major mobilizations against racism and police brutality in 2020.
Daniel Perry, a 33-year-old military man who drove SUVs in his spare time, found himself in the middle of a crowd of protesters in Austin, in the southern United States, in July 2020.
At his trial, his lawyers pleaded self-defense. They said he fired five shots at Garrett Foster, 28, because Foster approached his vehicle pointing an assault rifle in his direction.
Prosecutors countered that he could have turned around and initiated the confrontation.
According to the local Austin American-Statesman newspaper, they featured social media messages Daniel Perry had posted before the tragedy, in which he wrote, among other things, “I might kill a few people on the way to work, there’s a riot downstairs from my apartment.
After two days of deliberation, a popular jury found him guilty of murder. He faces a life prison sentence. The sentence will be pronounced soon.
Without even waiting for him to appeal, Governor Greg Abbott said he had asked his state’s Office of Pardons to review Daniel Perry’s case. “I am ready to endorse his recommendation as soon as it hits my desk,” he added in a statement released Saturday evening.
He said he wants to defend his state’s “strong ‘Stand your ground’ self-defense law”, which allows a person to use lethal force if they believe they are in grave danger, even if there is another possibility of escaping this danger.
This trial is reminiscent of that of Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on the sidelines of Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer.
The young man had also pleaded self-defense, but he had been acquitted. He has since become a muse of the hard right.
Governor Abbott’s announcement sparked the same partisan divisions. If he was hailed by Republicans, local Democrat Sarah Eckhardt denounced a “frightening and dangerous attack on the rule of law”, reports the daily Texas Tribune.