Maryland AG Brown demands federal investigation into Texas police officer

Maryland AG Brown demands federal investigation into Texas police officer

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Attorney General of Maryland Requests Federal Civil Rights Investigation

Maryland’s Attorney General, Anthony Brown, has joined with 12 other state attorneys in calling for an investigation into a Texas police officer who was pardoned by the state’s governor after being convicted of killing a social justice protester.

Case Background

Austin Police officer Daniel Perry shot and killed Garrett Foster during a protest in 2020. Perry was found guilty of murder in April 2023, however, Texas Governor Greg Abbott pardoned him in May, citing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Federal Investigation Request

The attorneys general are requesting that the U.S. Justice Department investigate whether Perry violated federal criminal civil rights laws in Foster’s death. “Mr. Foster’s civil rights were violated when he was targeted and killed because he spoke out against racial injustice,” Brown said in a statement.

Racial Animosity Motives

The prosecutors in the case believe that Perry was motivated by racial hatred and a history of considering violence against Black Lives Matter protestors, and Abbott’s pardon of him sends a message that “stand your ground” laws will protect those who seek to shoot and kill lawful protesters.

The Matthew Sheppard James Byrd Act

It is important to note that committing an act of violence motivated by racial animus is a federal crime under the Matthew Sheppard James Byrd Act.

Other Attorneys General Involved

Besides Brown, the attorneys general in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have signed on to the letter requesting the federal investigation.

Response from the Justice Department

The Justice Department has not yet responded to the investigation request.

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