Attorney General Ford, 13 Attorneys General Calling for DOJ Investigation into Murder of Garrett Foster Following Texas Pardon

May 29, 2024

Carson City, NV – Today, Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced he has joined a coalition of 13 other attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to open a civil rights investigation into the July 2020 murder of Garrett Foster who was protesting racial injustice when he was shot and killed by Daniel Perry in Austin, Texas. While a jury found Mr. Perry guilty of murder in April 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbot pardoned Mr. Perry earlier this month, citing Texas’ so-called “Stand Your Ground” law.

In a letter to the DOJ, AG Ford and the coalition urge the department to open an investigation into Perry’s killing of Garrett Foster, specifically to determine whether Perry violated federal criminal civil rights laws when he murdered Foster.

“The murder of Garrett Foster, a man who was protesting ongoing racial injustices, was a tragedy and a horrible crime,” said AG Ford. “In the interest of seeing justice done, I urge the Department of Justice to investigate this matter. Actions like Daniel Perry’s should not be quietly dismissed.”

    In June 2020, Foster was participating in a protest against racial injustice in Austin when Perry drove his car into a crowd of protesters. Foster approached Perry’s car in an attempt to protect his fellow protesters, and Perry to opened fire, killing Foster.

    During his trial, Perry claimed self-defense. Foster had been legally carrying a firearm, and Perry’s activity prior to the shooting indicates an intent to disrupt peaceful protesters.

    Perry’s internet history included evidence that he knew what he was planning to do was wrong and he intended to cover up his crime. For example, he searched whether the federal government had the ballistics information of every firearm lawfully sold. Perry also sent multiple texts before he left for the protests, telling friends that he was considering traveling to another city to “shoot looters,” and “might have to kill a few people on [his] way to work.”

      He googled the locations of local protests and targeted those areas, and also sent and shared racist and Islamophobic messages and memes advocating vigilante murder. A jury of Mr. Perry’s peers found him guilty of murder.

      Less than 24 hours after Perry was convicted in 2023, Governor Abbott announced his intent to pardon him on social media. In the year that followed, multiple other elected officials and political leaders who opposed racial justice protests joined the call for Perry to be pardoned.

      AG Ford and the coalition of attorneys general is concerned that in pardoning Perry, Governor Abbott has signaled that “stand your ground” laws will protect vigilantes who seek out racial justice protests just to shoot and kill protesters. This is particularly troubling given growing evidence that these laws are often associated with increased homicide rates.

        Though Perry has been pardoned in Texas, the law does not shield him from federal prosecution for killing Foster to prevent him from exercising his constitutional right to peacefully protest. The coalition argues that DOJ has historically used federal civil rights laws to prosecute acts of hate, especially when states refuse or fail to hold people accountable for violating their fellow Americans’ civil rights.

        Joining AG Ford in sending this letter to DOJ are the attorneys general of New York, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.