Almost exactly twenty months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a potential pardon for his 2004 Houston conviction has been withdrawn.
The pardon, submitted in late April of 2021, was withdrawn along with 25 others for “procedural errors and lack of compliance with Board rules.” This comes as a reversal from a previous Texas Board of Pardons and Parole vote, in which Floyd’s posthumous pardon was unanimously approved.
Floyd was convicted in 2004 near his hometown of Houston for selling an estimated $10 million worth of cocaine. Later pleading guilty, Floyd served ten months in prison. Floyd’s pardon for this case was submitted by Allison Mathis on behalf of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office.
Mathis referred to the turbulent events surrounding the officer who arrested Floyd in 2004, Gerald Goines. According to AP News, Goines is facing two counts of felony murder for a 2019 raid in which he killed two suspects. Goines allegedly faked a warrant for that raid, and prosecutors have since dropped 160 drug-related offenses where Goines was involved.
Mathis told AP News that Goines allegedly created a “fake informant” before the sting operation that led to Floyd’s arrest. She reasoned that Floyd pleaded guilty so that he would receive ten months instead of the 25-year sentence he would have gotten if he did not plead guilty due to his past criminal record.
Governor Abbott usually issues the most pardons around Christmas time, a tradition for Texas governors. However, Floyd will not be pardoned this year because Mathis’s application did not meet the Board’s requirements.
Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Abbott, stated, “The Board will review and resolve procedural errors and issues related to any pending applications in compliance with their rules…Governor Abbott will review all recommendations that the Board submits for consideration.”
Floyd can still be pardoned if the application is reviewed again and approved. Only then will it be placed on Abbott’s desk, where he will have the final decision on whether to pardon Floyd.