The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas is supporting an effort to posthumously pardon George Floyd for a conviction that was built on the lone word of a former Houston police officer who now faces felony murder charges and allegations of manufacturing evidence.
The news comes one week after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd last May.
What are the details?
Allison Mathis, a public defender who works in Harris County, filed the pardon request with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday.
Mathis said the request is not a reflection of the fact that Floyd turned his life around after leaving the criminal justice system for the last time in 2013, but because the arresting officer in one of Floyd’s arrests “manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants,” CNN reported.
Specifically, Mathis is seeking a pardon for a 2004 drug arrest in which the arresting officer, Gerald Goines, accused Floyd of dealing a small amount of crack cocaine. Floyd later plead guilty and served 10 months in jail.
More from CNN:
On February 5, 2004, Floyd was arrested and charged with delivery of a controlled substance with the arresting officer, Gerald Goines, alleging at the time of arrest that Floyd possessed crack cocaine “and that Floyd had provided the drugs to an unnamed ‘second suspect’ who had agreed to sell the drugs to the undercover Goines. The ‘second suspect’ was not arrested, Goines noted in his offense report, ‘in a [sic] attempt to further the narcotic trafficing [sic] in this area.'”
“This is about honoring the memory of George Floyd, as well as about correcting the records of the State of Texas,” Mathis told CNN. “We can’t have confidence in the integrity of the convictions obtained by Officer Goines. George Floyd suffered at the hands of a corrupt and racist system throughout his life, not just at the end.”
Goines was charged with two counts of felony murder last year after a botched drug raid resulted in the deaths of two people. Goines allegedly lied to obtain a “no-knock” search warrant. The incident triggered a review of 14,000 cases involving Goines and other officers who participated in the raid, KARE-TV reported. As many as 69 people may have been convicted falsely based on information Goines allegedly manufactured against them, according to KTRK-TV.
Prosecutors attempted to reach Floyd in 2019 about the investigation into Goines, but officials were unable to reach Floyd, who had since moved to Minnesota, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Mathis said Floyd deserves a pardon because he was a victim of corrupt police work.
“It is our contention that Goines did the same thing in George Floyd’s case as he did in the cases of so many others: He made up the existence of a confidential informant who provided crucial evidence to underpin the arrest and no one bothered to question the word of a veteran cop against that of a previously-convicted Black man,” Mathis said.
What did the DA say?
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office fully supports the petition to relieve Floyd of the 2004 conviction.
“As part of our ongoing investigation of police corruption exposed by the Harding Street killings, we looked into posthumous relief for a 2004 drug conviction that ensnared George Floyd in the criminal justice system so long ago,” Ogg said in a statement.
“Prosecutors determined in 2019 that Floyd had been convicted on the lone word of Gerald Goines, a police officer we could no longer trust; we fully support a request that the Governor now pardon George Floyd from that drug conviction,” she added.