Monday, January 24, 2022

Texas board withdraws pardon recommendation for George Floyd

AUSTIN, TX (AP) – The Texas government, which unanimously supported the posthumous pardon of George Floyd’s 2004 drug arrest in Houston, withdrew the recommendation due to “procedural errors” after it was sent to Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s desk, reported his office on Thursday. …

The unusual waiver, announced by Abbott’s office two days before Christmas – around the time it usually hands out pardons – sparked the outrage of a public defender who petitioned Floyd, who spent most of his life in Houston before his death in 2020. custody of a white Minneapolis police officer.

Floyd’s name was withdrawn, along with two dozen other clemency recommendations that were submitted by the Texas Board of Clemency and Parole. In a letter dated December 16, the board advised Abbott that it had identified “unexplained deviations” from the clemency process and that several recommendations, including one for Floyd, needed to be reviewed.

“As a result of the Board’s withdrawal of the George Floyd recommendation, Governor Abbott did not have the opportunity to review it,” said Abbott spokeswoman Rene Eze.

Allison Mathis, a Houston-based public defender who petitioned for clemency on behalf of Floyd, called the last-minute cancellation “a ridiculous farce.”

READ MORE: Darnella Fraser, who recorded George Floyd’s death, lost her uncle in a police crash

“It really undermines confidence for them when they say now that it is inadequate after the board has already voted on it,” she said.

Floyd grew up and was buried in Houston. In June, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Choven was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of Floyd.

A pardon restores the rights of convicts and forgives them in the eyes of the law. But in Floyd’s case, his family and supporters said the Texas posthumous pardon would demonstrate a commitment to accountability.

In February 2004, Floyd was arrested in Houston for selling $ 10 worth of crack in a police investigation, and later pleaded guilty to drug charges and served 10 months in prison. But general attention to Floyd’s death at the police station 16 years later, prosecutors have not returned to his case in Houston. Instead, it was triggered by the deadly 2019 Houston drug raid, which involved the same officer who arrested Floyd.

Prosecutors say Officer Gerald Goines lied to obtain a search warrant in a raid that killed husband and wife. Goines, who is no longer a member of the Houston Police Department and is facing murder charges, has denied wrongdoing. Since then, prosecutors have removed more than 160 drug-related convictions from him due to concerns about his job.

The Texas Parole Board, whose members were all appointed by Abbott, unanimously recommended a pardon for Floyd, and the Houston district attorney also called on the governor to act.

Abbott, who is gearing up for re-election in 2022 and facing major far-right rivals, has given no indication for months as to whether he will pardon months after the parole board put a recommendation on his desk. … The prolonged silence prompted Mathis and others to question whether political calculations influenced Abbott’s decision. His office did not respond to these allegations.

Abbott attended Floyd’s memorial service last year in Houston, where he met with his family and came up with the idea of ​​the George Floyd Act against police brutality. But when the Texas Legislature met a few months later, Abbott said nothing about Democratic police reforms and made police funding his priority.

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