Austin, TX – A review panel recommended on Monday that George Floyd receive a posthumous pardon from Texas Governor Greg Abbott for a drug conviction that stemmed from an arrest made by a now-disreputable police officer.
The Harris County Public Defender’s Office submitted a posthumous request for a pardon for Floyd in May with support from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Floyd was arrested in Houston in February of 2004 after he sold $10 worth of crack to undercover Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months in a state jail.
Goines, who has since retired from the police force, is currently facing two felony murder charges in connection with a deadly drug raid.
Now-former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at the time that Goines had allegedly provided “some material untruths or lies” to obtain a search warrant that led to the deadly gun battle, NBC News reported.
Chief Acevedo said that while police had reason to investigate the targeted house, Goines concocted false information to secure the warrant for the raid.
Prosecutors have dismissed more than 160 convictions tied to Goines since his arrest, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Allison Mathis, who filed the pardon request for the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, said that Floyd pleaded guilty to avoid a possible 25-year sentence because of his past criminal history.
Mathis alleged in her posthumous pardon application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles that Goines had made up a confidential informant in Floyd’s case, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
She wrote that “no one bothered to question the word of a veteran cop against that of a previously-convicted black man.”
Mathis told the board that a pardon “wouldn’t erase the memory, personal or institutional, of this thing that happened to him, or the things that would happen to him later… It would show that the state of Texas is interested in fundamental fairness, in admitting its mistakes, and in working to increase the accountability for police officers who break our trust and their oaths, and harm our people rather than serve them,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder on April 20 for Floyd’s death and was later sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison.
Three other former Minneapolis police officers are also facing charges in connection with Floyd’s death.
All four former officers have also been charged with federal civil rights violations.
A counselor who worked with Floyd in 2012 wrote to the pardon board that he told her back then he didn’t understand why Goines “would lie about innocent people.”
“He said that he had prayed to God that he would help him find peace to forgive him,” Maureen Bishop claimed in her letter, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg had expressed her support for the posthumous pardon.
Ogg said Floyd was convicted “on the lone word of Gerald Goines, a police officer we could no longer trust,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
“We fully support a request that the governor now pardon George Floyd from that drug conviction,” the district attorney confirmed.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously approved Mathis’ request to recommend a pardon for Floyd on Oct. 4, the Associated Press reported.
The recommendation of the seven-member panel will now be forwarded to the governor for review.
The fate of Floyd’s pardon is in Abbott’s hands, and his office has not commented on how long it may take the governor to make a decision, the Associated Press reported.
The attorney who filed the initial request for the pardon celebrated the panel’s decision.
“A man was set up by a corrupt police officer intent on securing arrests rather than pursuing justice. No matter what your political affiliation is, no matter who that man was in his life or in his death, that is not something we should stand for in the United States or in Texas,” Mathis said.
Abbott has only granted a handful of pardons per year since he took office in 2015, the Associated Press reported.
Mathis said she was optimistic the governor would grant one to Floyd.
“I also hope that he, and the Texas Legislature, will work more stridently toward reforming the integrity of the racist, classist criminal justice system in Texas,” Mathis said.