The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 7-0 to posthumously pardon George Floyd of a criminal drug possession charge from 2004, putting the ultimate decision in the hands of Gov. Greg Abbott. Before Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014, he lived in Houston for most of his life. Floyd’s death while being detained by the Minneapolis Police Department quickly caused national outrage and rioting by some who promoted the incident as an example of police brutality.
The board consists of seven decision-makers, all appointed by the Texas governor to make rulings on paroling convicts and granting clemency. Currently, six of the board’s seven members were originally appointed by Gov. Abbott. The chair of the board, David Gutierrez, was originally appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2009, then reappointed by Abbott in 2015.
Floyd’s criminal history, according to the Harris County District Clerk, includes various drug possession charges, petty theft, trespassing, and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
Democrat Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg, wrote in a statement earlier this week:
We lament the loss of former Houstonian George Floyd and hope that his family finds comfort in Monday’s decision.We urge Governor Abbott to follow the Board’s recommendation and grant clemency.
Abbott, who attended George Floyd’s nationally televised funeral last year in Houston, must confirm the Parole Board’s decision in order for Floyd to be officially pardoned. The basis for Floyd’s pardon from one of his various criminal charges comes courtesy of the arresting officer, Gerald Goines. In 2004 Goines arrested Floyd for possession of crack cocaine. Now Goines has been indicted for a plethora of misconduct charges after leading a raid in 2019 that resulted in the deaths of two civilians.
During his trial, new investigations revealed Goines frequently used coercive tactics to make arrests. “Goines manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants,” said Houston public defender Allison Mathis.
More than 160 of Goines’ convictions have been overturned.