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A 36-year-old Black Texas man was sentenced to 70 years in prison for spitting on police to “send a message.”
Larry Pearson, 36, was sentenced to 70 years in prison by a Texas jury after being found guilty on two counts of harassment of a public servant from April 2022.
In their closing arguments, the prosecution asked the jury to consider sentencing Pearson to a number of years that would “send a message.”
In April 2022, Pearson was initially arrested for a domestic violence situation between him and his then-girlfriend while driving. The victim flagged down passing police officers after Pearson became violent and she believed he had a gun.
A police report at the time said the victim had “multiple visible injuries” on her face which prompted Lubbock County Sheriff’s Deputies to arrest Pearson.
According to Lubbock County jail records, Pearson was arrested three days earlier by Lubbock Police Department officers for assault and violating a protective order.
During the trial, prosecutors said Pearson became violent in the back seat of the patrol car. When an officer opened the door, Pearson spit on him. Pearson again spit at officers as he was being transferred to a holding cell.
Typically, spitting on police in Texas is a third degree felony according to the Texas penal code, and typically carries a sentence of two to 10 years in prison. With Pearson’s prior record, prosecutors wanted to make an example.
“You’re not going to get 70 years for something like this when you’ve never been in trouble before,” prosecutor Jessica Gorman told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “In Texas, if you’ve been to prison multiple times, two consecutive times and then you commit another felony that’s a third degree or higher, you’re what’s called a ‘habitualized criminal,’ where your minimum is 25 years.”
While Black Man Gets 70 Years for Spitting, Gov. Greg Abbott Wants to Pardon a Convicted Racist Murderer
Pearson’s sentence comes the same week as Texas Governor Greg Abbott saying he wanted to pardon a convicted murderer.
Racist posts from convicted murderer Daniel Perry were unsealed by a judge last Thursday, after Greg Abbott said he was seeking a pardon for Perry.
Perry was convicted of murder by a jury for shooting and killing a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020.
Perry was working as an Uber driver in downtown Austin the night of Garrett Foster’s murder. He turned onto a crowded street filled with Black Lives Matter protesters where he interacted with Foster. Both men were legally carrying guns, Perry a handgun and Foster an AK-47.
Perry claimed he acted in self-defense, telling investigating officers “I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me, ya know?”
The day after a Texas jury convicted U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry of murder for shooting and killing Foster, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott tweeted his intentions to pardon Perry.