Attorneys general urge federal probe of Black Lives Matter protest killing after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pardon

A coalition of state attorneys general Urged The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it will open a civil rights investigation into the 2020 killing of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protester, following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s (Republican) pardon of the killer two weeks ago.

The group of attorneys general, all Democrats, said protester Garrett Foster was “exercising” his First Amendment rights when he was shot, and slammed the shooting, calling the facts of the case “egregious.”

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the group expressed concerns about the “self-defense” law that Abbott referenced when he announced Daniel Perry’s pardon in mid-May.

“The signing attorneys general are concerned that these ‘right to self-defense’ laws will encourage armed vigilantes to attend protests and prepare to shoot and kill those exercising their First Amendment rights,” the coalition said in a statement. letter Date Wednesday.

The Texas governor pardoned Perry, who was convicted of murder for shooting and killing Foster, an Air Force veteran, during the 2020 protests that spread nationwide in response to the killing of George Floyd. Perry was convicted by a jury of Foster’s murder in April 2023. He was acquitted of aggravated assault charges.

Perry, who worked as an Uber driver, was dropping off a passenger in downtown Austin, Texas when he observed Foster, who was legally armed and possessing an AK-47 rifle, pointing the rifle at Perry.

Perry, who had a pistol, fired at Foster because he felt his life was in danger.

In a letter calling for an investigation, the groups said the deadly incident began when Perry “Googled the location of the protests and sent text messages saying he was thinking about going to another city to ‘shoot looters.'” His internet search history included evidence he was trying to cover up his crimes (“federational sources say he was trying to cover up his crimes”). [has] “Ballistics of all legally sold firearms.”

“When states fail to protect their residents from violations of their civil rights, it is urgent that the Department of Justice step in to ensure justice is served,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. The letter was signed by one of the attorneys general. Other attorneys general are from Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

“We call on the Department of Justice to investigate this incident and show that this will not be tolerated in America,” James said.

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