AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Army sergeant was convicted of murder for fatally shooting an armed protester in 2020 during nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice, a Texas jury ruled Friday.
Sgt. Daniel Perry was working for a ride-sharing company in July 2020 when he turned onto a street and into a large crowd of demonstrators in downtown Austin. In video that was streamed live on Facebook, a car can be heard honking before several shots ring out and protesters begin screaming and scattering.
Perry, who faces life in prison, now awaits sentencing.
Perry’s attorneys said he acted in self defense when he shot and killed Garrett Foster, 28, after protestors banged on his car. Foster pointed a weapon at Perry, the sergeant’s attorneys say, and Perry fired from inside his vehicle.
Perry was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Austin. The trial comes after attempts from Perry’s team to throw out the case over the past year.
When Foster was killed, demonstrators in Austin and beyond had been marching in the streets for weeks following the police killing of George Floyd. Floyd died May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against the Black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s killing was recorded on video by a bystander and sparked worldwide protests as part of a broader reckoning over racial injustice.