Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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Shocking Pardon: Greg Abbott Frees Killer Who Preyed On Minors

Abbott sets a dangerous precedent by pardoning a convicted murderer whose online history revealed violent fantasies, racism, and predatory behavior.

Greg Abbott pardon
Photo: Gage Skidmore

In a controversial move that sparked widespread condemnation, Texas Governor Greg Abbott pardoned Daniel Perry in May—a racist, violence-obsessed vigilante convicted of murdering a peaceful protester who has a history of messaging underage girls. This pardon not only desecrates the memory of the victim, Air Force veteran Garrett Foster, but also sends a chilling message that right-wing political violence is not only tolerated but actively endorsed by Republicans. Now, attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia have urged the Department of Justice to investigate the matter further. 

The facts of the case are damning. In July 2020, amid nationwide protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd, Perry ran a red light and drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters in Austin. Foster, an Air Force veteran, was legally open-carrying an AK-47 to protect the demonstrators after recent incidents of violence against protesters in the area. Foster was pushing his fiancée’s wheelchair when Perry aggressively accelerated into the crowd. As the crowd began to surround his car, Perry opened fire without provocation or justification, fatally shooting Foster in the chest multiple times. A jury of Perry’s peers unanimously found him guilty of murder after hearing overwhelming evidence of his culpability.

Garrett Foster, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Daniel Perry
Garrett Foster with his fiancée Whitney Mitchell

However, in a stunning display of lawlessness, Abbott moved swiftly to pardon Daniel Perry, bowing to pressure from far right pundits like Tucker Carlson. The governor cited Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law, falsely claiming that Perry acted in self-defense—a claim directly contradicted by eyewitness testimony and Perry’s own admissions to the police.

Daniel Perry’s Online History Reveals Violent Fantasies

It’s vital to portray the full context of what happened that night and what has come to light since. Perry, driving illegally into a peaceful protest, initiated a confrontation that led to the tragic and senseless death of Foster. He claimed he acted in self-defense, but no evidence corroborated that Foster raised his weapon towards Perry. In fact, Perry admitted to police that he pointed his gun at Foster first, a preemptive act of violence, not a defensive one. 

daniel perry search history Greg Abbott

Garrett Foster’s murder wasn’t just a horrific act of violence. Daniel Perry’s social media and web history, unsealed during his trial, reveal a man filled with hatred and violent fantasies. Perry had searched for “degrees of murder charges” and consumed content about driving into crowds of protesters. Many of his messages were filled with racism and hatred, comparing protesters to monkeys in a zoo, and he also expressed open disdain for Black Lives Matter demonstrators, even envisioning scenarios where he might have to kill them.

Predatory Chats: Perry Sought to Meet Young Girls Online

One of the most disturbing revelations about Perry is his disturbing history of inappropriate interactions with minors. Perry texted with someone who claimed to be 16 years old on Kik Messenger, a platform known for child exploitation scandals, and even searched “good chats to meet young girls.” 

Daniel Perry Greg Abbott pardon, predatory messages
Messages sent by Daniel Perry, from court filing by Travis County prosecutors

Consider the context of Perry’s predatory behavior—the kind of acts that Republicans vociferously condemn when accusing their opponents of being “groomers.” Yet, here they are rallying behind an individual they would label a “groomer”. This selective outrage and willingness to overlook criminal behavior when it is someone that shares their beliefs exposes the GOP’s lack of consistency and integrity when it comes to enforcing the law and protecting the vulnerable.

Greg Abbott’s Endorsement of Political Violence

Given all the disturbing evidence of Perry’s character, it is unfathomable that Governor Greg Abbott pardoned this individual. Abbott, driven by political motivations and pressure from right-wing figures like former Fox News host and Putin sympathizer Tucker Carlson, has made a mockery of the justice system by pardoning someone who not only committed murder but who also had shown clear indications of wanting to commit such an act well before it happened. 

Additionally, Abbott’s pardon isn’t an isolated case. It falls in line with other actions that showcase his bias towards protecting individuals implicated in politically charged acts of violence. For example, when Austin police officer Justin Berry faced indictment for excessive force during a BLM rally, Abbott not only endorsed Berry for a state House seat but also appointed him to a state commission on law enforcement standards. 

Widow Condemns Pardon

Whitney Mitchell, the wife of Garrett Foster, criticized Governor Abbott’s decision to pardon Daniel Perry, claiming it jeopardizes the safety of Texans. She asserted, “Daniel Perry texted his friends about plans to murder a protester he disagreed with. After a lengthy trial, with an abundance of evidence, 12 impartial Texans determined that he carried out that plan, and murdered my Garrett.” Her words underscore the gravity and premeditated nature of Perry’s actions. 

Garrett Foster—a dedicated Air Force veteran marching for justice—was senselessly killed by Perry, a man whose social media posts and messages prior to the incident revealed a desire and willingness to commit such acts. Perry’s admittance of “accidentally” killing a homeless man and continually fantasizing about violent acts towards minorities only makes the case for his pardon even more indefensible.

Public Safety Jeopardized by Abbott’s Political Agenda

What’s next for Perry is equally alarming. Abbott’s full pardon means not only does Perry walk free, but he also regains his firearm rights. Perry, who has proven capable of premeditated violence and shows disturbing patterns of predatory behavior, now has the potential to repeat or escalate his actions, emboldened by the state’s highest office.

Governor Abbott has cemented his legacy as a governor that prioritizes political allegiance over justice and public safety. This move doesn’t just invalidate a fair trial, but serves as an endorsement of politically motivated violence, which is extremely dangerous. 

In a state where politics overrides fair judgment, the principles of justice, equality, and safety are lost. With the pardon of Daniel Perry, Abbott has shown a disregard for American values. This decision desecrates the memory of Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran peacefully protesting, and jeopardizes public safety by emboldening individuals like Perry who have proven capable of premeditated violence while harboring disturbing predatory tendencies towards children.

The widespread condemnation from AGs nationwide underscores how this pardon makes a mockery of the justice system and the victim. In a country facing rapidly escalating political violence, Governor Abbott’s brazen endorsement of such acts sets a dangerous precedent that could embolden extremists and spark more violent acts.