On Friday, a jury found Daniel Perry guilty of murder for the shooting of Garrett Foster during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest.
Perry, a former Army sergeant who was driving Uber at the time, encountered an armed BLM group that had taken over the streets of Austin, Texas during a riot on July 25, 2020. According to KXAN, Perry faced one count of murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The jury did not find him guilty of the second charge.
Austin Police Department’s description of the incident stated that a car turned onto Congress Avenue near 4th Street at 9:51 pm. Protestors who were marching in the area surrounded the car, and Foster, who was part of the group, was armed with a rifle.
“I made a wrong turn, a guy pointed a freakin weapon at me and I panicked. I don’t know what to do. I’m just an Uber driver. I made a wrong turn; I’ve never had to shoot someone before. They started shooting back at me, and I got out of the area,” Perry told a 911 operator that night.
Former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that the driver, who was later identified as Perry, fired five shots from inside of his vehicle, hitting Foster. Foster did not fire a shot. Another member of the group fired three shots at the vehicle, but did not hit anyone.
Both Perry and the other shooter were detained following the incident.
Perry’s defense team said during opening statements on March 28 that Perry had to defend himself when he was swarmed by the group. Perry came into contact with the protesters after traveling from Killeen to Austin during an Uber, trip, which he did for supplemental income.
The defense said that Perry did everything he could to avoid the protestors as he dropped off one of his riders downtown, and that he was fully cooperative with police, giving over his phone and providing social media passwords immediately without a warrant.
State prosecutors said that Foster was a frequent BLM protester and had been out protesting nearly every day that summer, which saw riots spread across the country.
The state argued that Perry had sped into the crowd of protestors, but an expert witness for the defense called the allegation into question, using data and science to track the speed of the car which he said was slowing down when he approached the crowd.
In one video, Foster was seen talking about his AK-47 he was carrying that night, saying that he was carrying a weapon "they don’t let us march in the streets anymore."
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