AUSTIN, Texas (TBEN) – The Texas Board of Directors unanimously supported a posthumous pardon to George Floyd for his 2004 drug arrest in Houston, after an ad on Thursday claimed to have left “errors of process”. Months later his recommendation was found. Decision for Republicans. Governor Greg Abbott.
The unusual reversal was announced by Abbott’s office two days before Christmas, around the time he usually holds his annual Thanksgiving.
The withdrawn acceptance sparked outrage from a public protester who submitted an apology request for Floyd, who spent most of his life in Houston under the knee of a white Minneapolis cop before his death in 2020. , Houston attorney Alison Mathis has accused the two-time governor of playing politics ahead of the GOP primary elections in Texas in March as she faces far-right challengers.
Floyd’s name was withdrawn along with two dozen other clemency recommendations submitted by the Texas Board of Pardons and Lyrics. In a letter dated December 16, but not yet made public, the board told Abbott that it had identified “unexplained gaps” in its pardon process and needed to be reconsidered further. A third of the 67 leniency recommendations sent to Abbott this year, including Floyd’s.
In October, the board unanimously recommended that Floyd become only the second person in Texas to receive a posthumous clemency from the governor since 2010.
“After the withdrawal of George Floyd’s recommendation, Governor Abbott has not had the opportunity to consider it,” Abbott’s spokesman, René Eise, said in a statement.
Mathis called the last-minute reversal a “ridiculous spectacle”.
“It really puts pressure on their credibility, now saying it’s not compliant, because the board has already voted on it,” she said.
Floyd grew up and was buried in Houston. In June, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison for the murder of Floyd, leading to a national decision on race and the maintenance of order in the United States.
Pardon restores the rights of the guilty and pardons them in the eyes of the law. But in Floyd’s case, his family and supporters said a posthumous apology in Texas would reflect a commitment to responsibility.
In February 2004, Floyd was arrested in a police attack in Houston for selling crack cocaine, then pleaded guilty to drug charges and served 10 months in prison. But the global spotlight on Floyd’s death after 16 years in police custody is not why prosecutors re-examined his Houston case. Instead, it was brought on by a deadly drug raid in Houston in 2019 that involved the same officer who arrested Floyd.
Prosecutors say Officer Gerald Goins lied to obtain a search warrant for the raid that killed a husband and wife. Goins, who is no longer in the Houston Forces and faces murder charges, has denied any wrongdoing. More than 160 drug-related convictions involving him have been dismissed by prosecutors over the years because of concerns about his case work.
Texas Parole Board Chairman David Gutierrez said in a letter to Abbott that he ordered the review after the board recommended more liberal recommendations this year than at any time in two decades. He did not elaborate on how Floyd’s recommendation bypassed normal procedures, instead generally pointing to several sets of rules that Gutierrez said the board did not follow.
A number listed for Gutierrez did not respond on Thursday.
For months, Abbott has given no indication whether he will grant a pardon in the months since the parole board placed the recommendation on its desk. The long silence raised questions by Mathis and others whether political calculations were at stake in Abbott’s decision. His office did not respond to these allegations.
Abbott attended Floyd’s memorial service in Houston last year, where he met with the family and pitched the idea of a “George Floyd Act” that would target police brutality. But when the Texas Legislature met months later, Abbott was silent on Democrat-inspired police reforms and prioritized policing funding.
Watch full TBEN coverage of George Floyd’s death here: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd