Garrett Foster: Murdered During Black Lives Matter March in Austin, Texas



On the night of Saturday, July 25, 28-year-old Garrett Foster was shot and killed as he marched through downtown Austin in a Black Lives Matter protest. 

Foster was a well-known participant in Austin’s protests demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos (a man murdered by Austin police in April), and for other social justice causes. Thousands have protested in Austin since George Floyd was murdered in May, and one man told the Austin American-Statesman that Foster had been among them “day in and day out.” Garrett Foster was also an advocate of the right to carry arms, based on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At protests he was often seen pushing the wheelchair that held his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, and carrying a rifle, which is legal to do in Texas. 

Police Release the Killer

Videos taken at the protest show that shortly before 10:00 p.m., a car made a sharp turn onto Congress Avenue, a major street on which people were marching in the direction of the state capitol. The car is seen accelerating into the march, and then abruptly stopping. People ran towards the car. Then five shots rang out in rapid succession. Garrett Foster fell to the ground, bleeding from gunshot wounds to his head. 

After several seconds, another burst of shots is audible on one video. The driver of the car sped away, and Austin police say that a short time later the driver called 911 to say he or she had been involved in a shooting and that a gun had been pointed at him or her. Someone who police say fired shots at the car with the shooter also turned themselves in to the Austin Police Department (APD).

Exactly what happened prior to the shots being fired is unclear. But the American-Statesman reported that people they interviewed told them, “Several protesters, including Foster, approached the car (the shooter was in)… and Foster had his weapon pointed down.” And Whitney Mitchell’s mother said to the Dallas Morning News that her daughter told her that Foster was trying to protect her, and that he “… jumped in front of Whitney, and the guy rolled down the window and shot him. They thought the person was aiming at her because she is a sitting duck.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, APD had released no information about who they detained. But they did say they had released the alleged shooter, without any charges, “pending further investigation.” APD chief Brian Manley told reporters, "During the initial investigation of this incident, it appears that Mr. Foster may have pointed his weapon at the driver of this vehicle prior to being shot." 

Manley did not back up this allegation with specific evidence. Natasha Harper-Madison, an Austin city council member, said on a local CBS news broadcast that the APD “… took his [the killer’s] word alone and determined that it was appropriate to release a person who had just taken another person's life. There are people who are sitting in jails right now for doing less. How is that fair, or just or appropriate?" 

Trump Gloats Over Garrett Foster’s Death

Other pigs in the APD, and racist trolls on social media, have been quick to blame Garrett Foster for his own death. The local CBS station in Austin reported that Ken Casaday, head of the police union there, thinks “…Foster may have been looking for a confrontation by having his rifle with him.” Casaday continued, “But if the story is true about him walking up on the car and he was pointing his rifle on him, I'm sorry, in this state everyone pretty much has a gun, and if you point a gun at someone bad things happen."

On Sunday morning, fascist pig-in-chief Donald Trump gloated in the shooting murder of Garrett Foster and broadcast that to his hordes of white supremacist followers. He re-tweeted, “Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster, shot at a car five times. He missed. The driver shot back, killing him.” Trump later removed the tweet—after millions of his fascist mobs had seen and re-tweeted it themselves. 

Trump is not just cheering on violence against Black people and others who stand up against white supremacy. He has directed the federal government to send federal pigs into Portland, Chicago, and other cities—and he has sent signals that fascists who attack protesters will be backed by his “Department of Justice” if they claim they feel “threatened.” Over the past couple of months, there has been a rash of violent assaults on protests by fascists, including people driving into protests. 

Exactly what happened that ended with Garrett Foster losing his life remains unclear. But it is clear that Foster was a courageous, principled, and inspiring human being who was unjustly and brutally shot to death during a righteous protest. Hundreds of people came to a vigil for Garrett Foster on Sunday night. A banner at the vigil expressed the people’s mood and spirit—“Honor Garrett: Fight for Black Lives, Justice for Garrett.” 

The hour is late indeed. The fight for Justice for Garrett needs to fuel further struggle across the country that drives the entire fascist Trump/Pence regime from power.

Garrett Foster with his fiancee, Whitney Mitchell



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