Austin Police wrote letter in support of convicted killer Daniel Perry's pardon

The department's interim chief said she decided against sending the letter after a discussion with city officials.

click to enlarge Daniel Perry was convicted in 2023 of shooting a Black Lives Matter protester during an Austin street demonstration. - Shutterstock
Daniel Perry was convicted in 2023 of shooting a Black Lives Matter protester during an Austin street demonstration.
White nationalist talking head Tucker Carlson wasn't the only one hoping Republican Gov. Greg Abbott would pardon Daniel Perry,  the Austin man convicted of murder for shooting a Black Lives Matter protester.

The Austin Police Department and its interim chief, Robin Henderson, penned a letter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles advocating for Perry's release, according to Austin TV station KVUE. However, the department never sent the document.

"As law enforcement officers, we are bestowed the honorable duty to investigate, collect and provide complete and honest unbiased facts to the citizens of this state," the letter obtained by KVUE reads. "This unbiased collection and presentation of evidence must be conducted separate from political and emotional influence."

The letter goes on: "We collectively feel that for justice to be served, a full pardon and restoration of his firearm rights should be granted to Mr. Perry."

Interim chief Henderson told KVUE that department officials had second thoughts about sending the letter after discussing the matter with city leadership.

The day after that discussion, Texas' seven-person parole board — all members of which are Abbott appointees — granted Perry a full pardon. The members didn't elaborate on their reasoning.

Travis County's progressive District Attorney Jose Garza, a frequent bogeyman for Abbott and the far-right, didn't mince words when asked by KVUE what he thought of the Austin Police Department's letter.

"Had [Henderson] been at the trial, she would have known that Mr. Perry had a full and fair opportunity to argue the killing was in self-defense and that, after deliberate consideration, the jury did not find that it was in self-defense," Garza said.

"Unlike the Interim Chief of Police, I believe that jury service is a foundation of our criminal justice system, and their verdict should not be disturbed," the DA added.

Perry, who's white, was convicted in May 2023 and sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting armed protester Garrett Foster. Foster, who's also white, was open carrying a firearm as he marched with a group.

Days before the 2020 shooting, Perry texted racist and threatening comments about protesters demonstrating following the death of George Floyd, according to court testimony by prosecutors.

"I might go to Dallas and shoot some looters," Perry reportedly texted a friend.

Abbott signed off on Perry's pardon last week, which also fully restored his right to bear arms.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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