Pardon Recommended for George Floyd's 2004 Arrest

It's up to Gov. Greg Abbott now
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2021 10:10 AM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2021 12:00 AM CDT
Floyd's 2004 Charge Came From Allegedly Corrupt Cop
Former Houston police officer Gerald Goines walks toward deputies prepared to place him into custody at a courthouse in Houston on Aug. 23, 2019.   (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Newser) Update: On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously approved a posthumous pardon request from George Floyd's family. The request, which relates to Floyd's 2004 arrest at the hands of a former Houston cop who's since been indicted on counts including murder, now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for a decision. It's not clear when one might be made, and Abbott's office has not yet commented on the matter, the AP reports. Our original story from April 27, 2021, follows:

George Floyd's family is requesting a posthumous pardon for his 2004 drug arrest by a former Texas police officer now charged with felony murder. Floyd was arrested by former Houston cop Gerald Goines for selling $10 worth of crack that February, before pleading guilty and spending 10 months in jail. But in recent years, more than 160 drug convictions tied to Goines have been thrown out, per the AP. He was found to have lied to obtain a "no-knock" warrant for a 2019 raid on a couple's home that ended with both suspects dead and several officers injured, per CNN. The 35-year veteran claimed a confidential informant had bought heroin at the home, but prosecutors say there was no informant and Goines himself bought the drugs. Allison Mathis of the Harris County Public Defender's Office argues the same thing happened in Floyd's case.

Goines "made up the existence of a confidential informant who provided crucial evidence to underpin the arrest," she writes in the application submitted to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday on behalf of Floyd and his family, per CNN. It's backed by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who says Floyd was convicted "on the lone word of Gerald Goines," per KHOU. CNN reports an attempt was made to contact Floyd in Houston after Goines' arrest, though he'd by then moved to Minnesota. He'd pleaded guilty in 2004 because he might otherwise have faced a 25-year sentence. A counselor who worked with Floyd in 2012 said he couldn't understand why Goines "would lie about innocent people," per the AP. But Goines' lawyer maintains the conviction was "legitimate" and the pardon request is based only on "pending accusations," per CNN. (Read more George Floyd stories.)

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