Ex-US army sergeant convicted of killing Black Lives Matter protester in 2020 pardoned by Texas governor

A former US army sergeant who killed a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020 has been issued a full pardon.

Daniel Perry was convicted of murder after shooting an armed demonstrator, 28-year-old Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran, during the nationwide anti-racist protests that swept the US and the world in 2020.

He was being held in a state prison on a 25-year sentence since his conviction in 2023.

That was until Texas governor Greg Abbott issued a full pardon for the former soldier on Thursday.

Mr Abbott announced the pardon just minutes after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles said it had made the unanimous recommendation that Perry be pardoned and given back his firearm rights.

The Republican governor had previously ordered the board, which he appoints, to review Perry's case and said he would sign a pardon if recommended.

Mr Abbott's demand for a review followed pressure from former Fox News star Tucker Carlson who, on national television, urged the Republican politician to intervene following Perry's conviction.

As far back as April of last year, Mr Abbott tweeted: "I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry."

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Perry was jailed after prosecutors successfully used his social media history and text messages to portray him as a racist and someone who may commit violence again.

Mr Foster, who is white, had been legally carrying an AK-47 while marching in a Black Lives Matter protest when Perry killed him.

Perry was working as a ride-share driver in July 2020 and turned his car into a street crowded with demonstrators, shot Mr Foster, and drove off.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Perry could have simply drove off without opening fire.

Witnesses testified that they did not see Mr Foster raise his gun but Perry's representatives in court claimed Mr Foster did raise his rifle, leaving the former soldier with no choice.

Perry, who is also white, did not take the witness stand and jurors deliberated for two days before finding him guilty.

In a statement posted on X, Mr Abbott said: "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."