US Army sergeant indicted on murder, aggravated assault charges over shooting of Garrett Foster
AUSTIN, Texas - An Army sergeant has been indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges in the shooting death of Black Lives Matter protestor Garrett Foster.
Foster was fatally shot while participating in a protest in Austin in July 2020.
According to his attorney, Army Sergeant Daniel Perry was driving for a ride-share company and had dropped off a client in downtown Austin shortly before the shooting. Perry was heading to a 'hot spot' to wait for notification on another pick-up or food delivery when he turned right onto Congress Avenue and encountered a large group of protesters.
Perry allegedly did not know there was a protest going on in downtown Austin.
The Travis County District Attorney's Office Thursday said the court has set bail for Perry in the amount of $250,000 for the murder and aggravated assault case, and $50,000 for the misdemeanor deadly conduct case.
"Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by this immeasurable loss, in particular Mr. Foster’s family and friends," said District Attorney José Garza. "We take our responsibility to present in front of the grand jury very seriously and in this case our office presented an extensive collection of evidence to the grand jury for their consideration."
The District Attorney's office says evidence presented by the Homicide and Major Crimes Unit included over 150 exhibits and testimony from 22 witnesses over 3 weeks.
Prior to the grand jury proceedings, in addition to the investigation that law enforcement conducted, the District Attorney’s office says it also reviewed the evidence and interviewed witnesses in order to present the most accurate set of facts possible to the grand jury.
The attorneys representing Army Sergeant Daniel Perry released the following statement regarding the announcement of charges against their client:
Of course, we are disappointed with the indictment against Sgt. Perry. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the standard of proof required for an indictment is significantly less than the standard of proof required for a conviction. Also, the District Attorney’s Office is able to pick and choose the evidence it presents to the Grand Jury and it is not required to tell the grand jury about any evidence favorable to the accused. In fact, in this case, the District Attorney’s Office refused to allow Mr. Perry’s defense attorneys to make a written presentation to the Grand Jury considering Mr. Perry’s case. This refusal is unusual in Texas and begs the question of why the District Attorney’s Office would not allow this. We understand the political motivations of the District Attorney, however, when this case is presented to a jury at trial and the jury gets to hear all the evidence instead of a one-sided presentation, we have every confidence that Sgt. Perry will be acquitted.
Sgt. Perry again simply asks that anybody who might want to engage in a hindsight review of this incident picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an AK-47 in their direction and reflect upon what theymight have done if faced with the split-second decision he faced that evening.
Sgt. Perry’s family has set up a crowdsourcing page on gogetfunding in order to assist with the legal expenses he will incur as a result of his decision to defend himself.
This case will be an important case related to the right to defend one’s self from deadly force in the State of Texas.
"Our office had been in contact with Mr. Perry's attorney throughout this process. I would say Mr. Perry was afforded the opportunity to testify in front of a grand jury and decided against taking that step," said Garza.
Perry is currently in active duty with the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Hood during the time of the incident.
WHO IS GARRETT FOSTER?
In July 2020, Garrett Foster and his fiancee Whitney Mitchell were participating in a demonstration in downtown Austin. As protestors marched down Congress Avenue, passing 4th street, U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry turned south, onto Congress from 4th, driving into the crowd.
Perry’s attorney, Clint Broden says it was an accident. He says Perry, who is stationed at Fort Hood, was driving for Uber. Foster's family believes Perry drove the car into the crowd intentionally.
Austin police say protestors began hitting Perry's car. Some protestors say Perry aggressively drove through the crowd, honking his horn. Foster, then approached Perry’s driver-side window with a rifle. He legally carried the gun. His mother says he carried it for protection at protests.
Perry claims Foster raised the gun.
The question of whether Foster raised his rifle has been at the center of an Austin Police investigation. Perry drew a concealed handgun and fatally shot Foster three times. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says witnesses described "several different versions of the incident."
"Garrett loved everybody. Garrett had a really special place in his heart for people who were excluded. He wanted everyone to feel included and equal," said his mother, Sheila Foster.
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