AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man who previously said he shot and killed a protester out of self defense in downtown Austin in July 2020 has been indicted on felony charges of murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of deadly conduct, according to a statement from his lawyer.
The lawyer says Daniel Perry posted a $300,000 bond and has been released from custody.
Perry “will vigorously fight all of these charges,” the lawyer says. Police identified the man killed in the July 25, 2020 shooting as Garrett Foster.
Foster’s fiancé, Whitney Mitchell, sent KXAN a statement through her attorney.
“We are grateful for the hard work of the District Attorney’s Office in prosecuting the senseless killing of Garrett, who was a loving, supportive partner to Whitney. This is the first step in a long process that we hope and trust will yield a just result.”Angelica Cogliano, Whitney Mitchell’s attorney
According to APD’s description of the incident, a car turned on Congress Avenue near 4th Street at 9:51 p.m. into where a group of protesters was marching against police violence. Protesters surrounded the car. Foster was armed with an assault-style weapon and was one of the protesters who surrounded the car.
Perry’s attorney sent KXAN pictures he says show that protesters were beating his client’s car. He says damage was done by brick, fists and gunshot.
Former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that’s when the driver fired five shots from inside the vehicle, hitting Foster multiple times. Foster never fired a shot. Another protester then shot at the car three times but did not hit anyone.
Manley says officers detained both shooters but later released both men, including the driver they say shot and killed Foster.
“We were disappointed,” Perry’s lawyer, Clint Broden, told KXAN News. “But not necessarily surprised. after we were told we weren’t going to be allowed to present a written– make a written presentation to the grand jury.”
Broden claimed that the Travis County District Attorney, José Garza, denied the defense’s presentation to play to his political base.
Garza denied both those accusations during a press conference at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss Perry’s new indictments.
Garza said evidence presented to the grand jury in the case included more than 150 exhibits and testimonies from 22 witnesses over the span of three weeks.
“We take our responsibility to present all of the evidence in any given case to a grand jury very seriously, and in this case in particular, we presented an extensive collection of evidence for the grand jury’s consideration,” Garza said.
He also clarified his office was in contact with Perry’s attorney throughout the process, and Perry was given the opportunity to testify in front of the grand jury, which he turned down.
Garza also said Perry’s attorney was able to provide information the defense gathered to be included in the presentation to the grand jury, and most of that information was used.
“He presented a packet to our office, our office reviewed the packet, and the overwhelming majority of information in that packet was presented to a grand jury for their consideration,” Garza explained.
Broden believes the next jury will see that his client acted in self defense.
“In a jury trial, the proof is a lot different, the state has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Sergeant Perry was not acting in self defense when in fact it’s clear he was acting in self defense,” he said.
He said to his knowledge, Perry did not give Foster any warning before firing his gun.
More indictment details
Perry’s indictment says the deadly conduct charge relates to Perry endangering the protesters as he drove onto Congress Avenue, where they were gathered.
It says Perry reportedly “placed a group of pedestrians walking in the roadway on Congress Avenue in imminent danger of serious bodily injury by texting while driving; and by turning right at a red light without first coming to a complete stop; and by turning into an intersection where pedestrians were visible in the crosswalk and the intersection.”
Another one of Perry’s charges alleges he endangered a second victim with his car.