AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas board that had unanimously supported a posthumous pardon for George Floyd over a 2004 drug arrest in Houston backpedaled in an announcement Thursday, saying “procedural errors” were found in their recommendation months after leaving the decision to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The unusual reversal was announced by Abbott’s office two days before Christmas, around the time he typically doles out his annual pardons.
Floyd spent most of his adult life in Houston, so the public defender that submitted Floyd’s pardon application was furious at Floyd’s withdrawal. before his death in 2020 under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. Allison Mathis, an attorney in Houston, accused the two-term governor of playing politics ahead of Texas’ March GOP primary elections as he faces challengers from the far right.
Floyd’s name was withdrawn along with two dozen other clemency recommendations that had been submitted by the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles. In a letter dated Dec. 16 but not released publicly until now, the board told Abbott that it had identified “unexplained departures” from its process of issuing pardons and needed to reconsider more than a third of the 67 clemency recommendations it sent to Abbott this year, including the one for Floyd.
The board will be closed on October 1. had unanimously recommendedFloyd was the second Texas governor to posthumously pardon Floyd.
“As a result of the Board’s withdrawal of the recommendation concerning George Floyd, Governor Abbott did not have the opportunity to consider it,” Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said in a statement.
Mathis called the last-minute reversal a “ridiculous farce.” She said the board — which is stocked with Abbott appointees — did not make her aware of any issues prior to the announcement from the governor’s office.
“It really strains credibility for them to say now that it’s out of compliance, after the board has already voted on it,” she said.
Floyd was born Floyd. laid to rest Houston. In June, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for Floyd’s murder, which led to a national reckoning in the U.S. over race and policing.
Pardons allow the accused to be restored and are a way of allowing them to forgive the law. But in Floyd’s caseHis family, supporters and friends said that a Texas posthumous pardon would demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility.
Floyd was later charged with selling $10 worth crack cocaine in Houston. He was sentenced in drug court and received 10 months imprisonment. Prosecutors did not revisit Floyd’s Houston case because of the worldwide spotlight that Floyd died in custody sixteen years ago. It was instead prompted by a deadly Houston drug raid in 2019This was the exact same officer that arrested Floyd.
Gerald Goines was accused of lying to get the warrant that allowed him to raid the house and kill a wife-and-husband. Goines, no longer with the Houston force. faces murder chargesHe denied all wrongdoing. Prosecutors have dismissed more than 160 convictions for drug offenses he was convicted of over the years due to concern about his casework.
David Gutierrez, chairman of Texas’ parole board, said in the letter to Abbott that he ordered a review after the board had recommended more clemency recommendations this year than at any point in two decades. He did not specify how Floyd’s recommendation skirted the usual procedures, instead only broadly pointing to several sets of rules that Gutierrez said the board did not follow.
Unanswered Thursday: The Gutierrez number was not returned.
Abbott has not given any indication that he will grant pardon since being recommended by the parole board. The prolonged silence raised questions by Mathis and others over whether political calculations were at play in Abbott’s decision. These charges were not filed against him by his office.
Abbott attended Floyd’s memorial service last year in Houston, where he met with the family and floated the idea of a “George Floyd Act” This would be a direct attack on police brutality. Abbott was silenced when the Texas Legislature met months later over reforms to police force. DemocratsPolice funding was made a priority.