Waving an AK-47-type rifle around during a protest is widely considered an unsafe thing to do, even if you don’t intend to harm someone. Allegedly pointing that same AK in the direction of an alarmed motorist who also happens to be a concealed carry licensee can result in gunshots and bloodshed.
While the facts aren’t completely clear and an investigation is ongoing, some version of that scenario occurred at an Austin, Texas, Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally on Saturday, resulting in the death of Garrett Foster.
While so-called “mainstream” media immediately pounced on the story as a crazy protest hater gunning down a peaceful man who was just pushing his fiancé around in her wheelchair, other reports from the scene allege that Foster first pointed his AK-47 at the driver, and the driver responded by firing his handgun. Still others report that shots were fired by both of the parties.
On one side, The New York Times described the event like this: “The police and witnesses said the man in the car turned it aggressively toward the marchers, and Mr. Foster then approached it. The driver opened fire, shooting Mr. Foster three times. He was rushed to a hospital and was later pronounced dead.”
On the other hand, the head of the Austin police union blamed Foster. “Please watch this video. This is the guy that lost his life last night,” Kenneth Casaday, head of the Austin Police Association, tweeted a clip apparently showing Foster being interviewed hours before he died. “He was looking for confrontation and he found it.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: On the posted Twitter video (now removed), Garrett Foster stated the following during an interview: “I think all the people who hate us, and want to say s#!t to us, are too big of p#ssies to actually do anything about it…”]
When such a wide range of eyewitness testimony is publicized for political purposes, it’s always best to rely on what law enforcement has to say about an ongoing investigation. In this case, Austin Police have released the driver as the investigation continues, and no charges have been filed at this time.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference on Sunday that the driver reported Foster pointed his weapon at the car’s occupants before the shooting. Manley added that a second shooter, who was not Foster, returned fire as the car left the scene.
Interestingly, Texas is one of several states with Stand Your Ground Laws on the books. The Texas law essentially empowers law-abiding citizens to stand their ground and defend themselves if they feel their life is in danger, with no requirement to retreat. If Foster did, indeed, point his rifle at the car’s occupants before the shooting started, the law would likely justify forceful self-defense measures.
It will likely be a while before police sort through all the eyewitness testimony and other evidence involved in the shooting. We’ll keep you posted as the investigation progresses.