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Army Sergeant Indicted in Travis County for Murder of Armed Austin Protester

A Travis County grand jury has indicted Army Sgt. Daniel Perry for allegedly commiting murder, aggravated assault, and a misdemeanor count of deadly conduct for killing a protester in Austin on July 25, 2020. José Garza, the county’s Democratic district attorney who sought the indictment, announced the decision in a press conference on Thursday.

Perry’s attorney, Clint Broden, contends the sergeant acted in self defense when the protester, Garrett Foster, pointed an AK-47 at him. The sheriff’s office reportedly released Perry after he turned himself in and posted a $300,000 surety bond.

“Of course, we are disappointed with the indictment against Sgt. Perry,” Broden wrote in a press release. “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.”

In the press conference, Garza said 22 witnesses gave testimony and his office presented more than 150 exhibits before the grand jury made its decision. The district attorney denied claims that the decision was “politically motivated” and said they provided the “most accurate possible set of facts” to the grand jury.

Garza also denied Broden’s claim that he “refused to allow Sgt. Perry’s defense attorneys to make a written presentation to the Grand Jury.” Noting that Perry declined to testify, Garza said the grand jury saw the “overwhelming majority” of a “packet” of material defense counsel provided to the district attorney’s office. Garza focused his remarks on the process leading up to the indictment and did not address the self-defense assertion.

According to his attorney, Perry has been in the Army for nine years and was stationed at Fort Hood when he was working as an Uber driver on July 25, 2020 to earn extra money. He had just finished a trip and navigated from Fourth Street onto Congress Avenue in Austin to find himself in the middle of a protest against racism. Broden contended in the press statement that Perry was not aware the protest was happening and he ended up being surrounded by demonstrators, some of whom were armed and pounding on his vehicle. The defense asserts that Foster raised the AK-47 and pointed it at Perry, leaving him no choice but to defend himself by shooting Foster “center mass” according to his military training.

In Texas, first-degree murder is punishable by a sentence of five to 99 years or life imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine. An indictment is not evidence of guilt and the onus is on the state to prove its claim that Perry is guilty of murder.

Garza won his office by an overwhelming margin in a July 2020 Democratic primary runoff in which he defeated incumbent District Attorney Margaret Moore by a vote of 68 percent to 32 percent. Since being inaugurated, Garza has advanced loosened bail policies and has made a point to pursue charges against police officers for alleged improper uses of force.

Allen West, a former congressman who is leaving his post this month as the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, condemned the indictment and fueled speculation that he intends to run for governor.

“The fact that this is happening in [Texas] is very disturbing. Are we to believe that we can no longer defend ourselves against these radical Marxists that occupy our streets and block traffic?” West tweeted.

“I call upon Governor Greg Abbott to make sure that these charges are dropped immediately. For I know one thing, if I was in the Governor’s office, the charges would be dropped.”

A copy of the indictment against Daniel Perry can be found below.

Update: This article has been updated with a copy of the indictment against Daniel Perry.

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