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Controversy Erupts Over APD’s Unsent Letter Supporting Pardoned Killer

The Austin Police Department drafted a letter advocating for Daniel Perry’s innocence two days before Gov. Greg Abbott pardoned Perry for killing Garret Foster during a Black Lives Matter protest.

The letter, first obtained by the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV, was supposed to be sent the day before Abbott pardoned Perry last week, but the letter was never sent.

“Ultimately the drafted letter was not submitted. After discussions with city leadership, as is standard in certain situations, I decided not to submit the letter,” interim police chief Robin Henderson told the Statesman.

The letter stated that Perry should be released and that he should never have been charged in the first place because, according to the APD, he acted in self-defense.

APD consulted retired Detective David Fugit, who has advocated for Perry’s freedom, and concluded that “the prosecution of Mr. Perry was not based on the merits of direct evidence, but by conjecture, innuendo, character assassination, and more importantly, the exclusion of exculpatory evidence,” the letter stated.

“We collectively feel that for justice to be served, a full pardon and restoration of his firearm rights should be granted to Mr. Perry,” APD concluded.

However, the letter has drawn criticism from other figures.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said the jury heard evidence that Perry’s attack was premeditated and that APD did not investigate the facts of the case. He also noted that Henderson did not attend Perry’s trial.

“Had she been at the trial, she would have known that Mr. Perry had a full and fair opportunity to argue the killing was in self-defense and that after deliberate consideration, the jury did not find that it was in self-defense,” Garza said.

Evidence was released that, before the shooting, Perry had posted on social media that “I might have to kill a few people on my way to work, they are rioting outside my apartment complex.” He was also found to have had on-line conversations with a 16-year-old girl, in which he told her to “come up with a reason why I should be your boyfriend.”

Garza also added that, unlike the interim police chief, he believes in jury service and that it is a foundation of the criminal justice system.

“This is not an appropriate role for the Austin Police Department, and those words have no place on official letterhead,” Mayor Kirk Watson said.

“We support the chief’s decision not to send the letter,” Interim Assistant City Manager Bruce Mills said. “Clearly, the draft letter is outside the police department’s role.”

Although the department’s role is not to advocate for a person’s pardon, some detectives have written letters about an inmate’s parole eligibility.

Garrett Foster participated in a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020. He was marching with other protesters while legally carrying a semi-automatic rifle to protect them.

Perry was driving for Uber and encountered the protesters, he honked at them and drove his car into the crowd, Foster approached him and Perry pulled out a handgun and fatally shot him.

Perry has already been released from jail and his gun rights have been restored.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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