Austin, TX – The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has changed its mind about granting a posthumous pardon to George Floyd for his 2004 drug conviction in that state.
But before Texas Governor Greg Abbott could make his final decision in the case, the board reversed its decision.
In December of 2021, the board sent a letter to Abbott that informed the governor of “procedural errors” that were found in its initial recommendation in Floyd’s case, ABC News reported.
The board said it needed to reconsider more than a third of a group of 67 clemency applications it had forwarded to the governor.
Floyd’s attorney, Allison Mathis with the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, was notified of the board’s decision not to recommend the posthumous pardon on Sept. 16, ABC News reported.
“After a full and careful review of the application and other information filed with the application, a majority of the Board decided not to recommend a Full Pardon and/or Pardon for Innocence,” the letter read.
The letter instructed the attorney that another application for a posthumous pardon could be filed in two years but did not explain why the application had been denied, ABC News reported.
The Harris County Public Defender’s Office had submitted the posthumous request for a pardon for Floyd in May of 2021 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.
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.
Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, after officers responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that he had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge now-former Officer Derek Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.