People gathered last year at a mural for George Floyd in the Third Ward in Houston. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

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The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Monday that George Floyd receive a posthumous full pardon for the 2004 drug charge he received in Houston.

The 7-0 decision comes five months after Houston public defender Allison Mathis sent in an application for clemency for Floyd, whose 2020 death during an arrest in Minneapolis set off national protests about police violence. Mathis claims that the officer who arrested Floyd in 2004 fabricated evidence in the case.

Gov. Greg Abbott must either approve or reject the state board’s decision.

“We lament the loss of former Houstonian George Floyd and hope that his family finds comfort in Monday’s decision,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg wrote in a prepared statement. “We urge Governor Abbott to follow the Board’s recommendation and grant clemency.”

Earlier this year, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in Floyd’s death and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Video of the arrest showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes even as Floyd said he could not breathe.

Before moving to Minneapolis, Floyd lived for most of his life in Houston. There, in 2004, he was arrested by former Houston police officer Gerald Goines for selling $10 worth of crack cocaine. Goines has since been indicted for murder and other misconduct charges after he led a “no-knock” raid in 2019 that resulted in the death of Houston couple Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. Prosecutors have accused Goines of lying to obtain the warrant for the raid.

As a result of the criminal investigation into Goines, his arrest cases were reviewed. More than 160 of Goines’ convictions have been dismissed.

“Goines manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants,” Mathis wrote when first petitioning for Floyd’s clemency in April.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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