AUSTIN, Texas – Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a U.S. Army sergeant charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an armed protester in Texas in 2020 during nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.
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.
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, who was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Austin, was indicted in Foster's death on charges of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct, a misdemeanor, in 2021. The trial comes after attempts from Perry’s team to throw out the case over the past year.
Clint Broden, who represents Perry, confirmed that jury selection began but did not comment further on the case.
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. Police can then be seen tending to someone lying in the street.
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.