Texas board endorses posthumous pardon for 2004 George Floyd drug conviction

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday voted unanimously to request that Gov. Greg Abbott posthumously grant a pardon to George Floyd, who was murdered in May 2020 in Minneapolis by a city police officer.

The board, which voted 7-0 to make the recommendation, explained its appeal in a statement to NBC News.

“The board does not conduct interviews regarding individual clemency recommendations. A recommendation is rendered on each case after the totality of information is considered,” said board spokesperson Timothy McDonnell.

The recommendation comes after the Harris County Public Defender’s Office filed a clemency application with the board in April, the network reported.

Floyd was convicted in 2004 on a drug charge in Houston and spent 10 months behind bars. The country’s fourth-largest city is located in Harris County, where Floyd grew up. He was arrested a total of nine times between 1997 and 2007.

The board’s recommendation will now be sent to Abbott, a Republican, who gets final say over the issue.

“We do not support the integrity of Mr. Floyd’s conviction and agree these circumstances warrant a posthumous pardon. We urge Governor Abbott to follow the board’s recommendation and grant clemency,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told NBC News in a statement.

Floyd died in late May of last year after then-police officer Derek Chauvin used a knee to pin Floyd to the pavement for several minutes after attempting to arrest him on suspicion of passing a phony $20 bill. Police said that Floyd resisted arrest and was agitated at the time; forensic analysis following his death found that he had narcotics in his system that likely contributed to his anxiety.

Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers —  Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Kueng — were fired the same day that Floyd died. They were all subsequently charged in his death; Chauvin — the only one who has stood trial thus far — was found guilty of murdering Floyd over the summer. Chauvin has filed an appeal for his 22 1/2-year sentence.

Floyd’s death touched off violence and riots in Minneapolis that quickly spread to cities around the country and lasted all summer and stretched into fall.

Support for a posthumous pardon has been growing over the past few months, according to The Hill. All five members of the Harris County Commissioners Court voted in favor of a resolution in May to support a request for pardon.

In his 2004 case, Floyd was arrested after selling $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer in a sting. The arresting officer, Gerald Goines, is himself facing a pair of felony murder counts linked to a 2019 drug raid that left a husband and wife dead.

Prosecutors claim that Goines was not truthful about drug deals that were allegedly taking place in the raided home so he could improperly obtain a no-knock warrant. Due to the current charges he faces, now hundreds of Goines’ cases are under review by prosecutors, The Hill added.

Citing ABC News, the outlet noted further that more than 160 drug convictions linked to Goines have summarily been dismissed by prosecutors.

“No matter how you feel about Mr. Floyd, about his life or his death, Mr. Floyd does not deserve to have this stain and take a wrongful conviction on his record,” Allison Mathis, a Harris County Public Defender’s Office attorney told commissioners in May.

Jon Dougherty


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