Maryland’s Attorney General has signed on to a push for a federal civil rights investigation into a Texas soldier pardoned by that state’s governor after being convicted of killing a social justice protester.

Along with attorneys general from 12 other states, Anthony Brown wants to spur the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the killing of Garrett Foster, who died after being shot by Daniel Perry during a protest in 2020.

A jury found Perry guilty in April 2023. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pardoned Perry in May, citing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which provides a legal basis for a self-defense claim.

In a letter to the DOJ, Brown and the other attorneys general asked the Justice Department to look into whether Perry violated federal criminal civil rights laws in Foster’s death.

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“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. “Moreover, it is disgraceful that a ‘stand your ground’ law has been used to defend a murder that was clearly driven by racial animosity.”

Foster was taking part in a protest against racial injustice in Austin when Perry, who is white, was working as a ride-share driver. He approached a demonstration and prosecutors said he could have driven away from the confrontation with Foster, a white Air Force veteran who witnesses said never raised his gun.

A jury convicted Perry of murder, but Abbott called it a case of self-defense. He was released from prison last month, hours after Abbott issued the pardon.

Brown and the other prosecutor said the evidence in the case showed Perry was motivated by racial hatred and a history of considering violence against Black Lives Matter protestors.

Brown said by pardoning Perry, Abbott is signaling to others that “stand your ground” laws will protect those who seek to shoot and kill lawful protesters.

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“This is particularly troubling given growing evidence that these laws are often associated with increased homicide rates,” Brown said in a statement.

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

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

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to the investigation request.