George Floyd Pardon Dropped

Abbott's office says there were errors in recommendation by Texas parole board
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2021 6:55 PM CST
George Floyd Pardon Dropped
A mourner wears a button with a photo of George Floyd and the words "I can't breathe" to Floyd's funeral in June 2020 in Houston.   (Godofredo A. V?squez/Houston Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended that George Floyd, who was convicted on a drug charge in 2004 and killed by a police officer in 2020, be given a full pardon. But Thursday, when it came time for Gov. Greg Abbott to release his annual list of pardons and commutations, the board members changed their minds, the New York Times reports. The recommendation was dropped because of "procedural error," a spokeswoman for the governor said. Because the pardon recommendation was withdrawn, she said, "Governor Abbott did not have the opportunity to consider it."

Abbott did issue clemency to eight people Thursday. The public defender who had taken the pardon request to the board in May said she was furious, per the Texas Tribune. The request had already cleared a compliance review, Allison Mathis said, with none of the board members raising any concerns. She blamed Abbott. "It definitely seems like is that he didn’t want to have to vote on this, for whatever reason," Mathis said. "It just seems awfully convenient." The original request had said the arresting officer in the case had "manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants," per CNN.

The officer, Gerald Goines, now faces two murder charges, per Axios, and has been accused of lying to justify warrants involving a drug raid. Abbott, who had said his office would look into the pardon request after it was received in October, didn't rule out a future pardon of Floyd. The board withdrew 24 other recommendations at the same time, and his press secretary said the members will "review and resolve" the procedural errors. Mathis said she wasn't told what the specific problem was. (Read more George Floyd stories.)

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