AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Doling out pardons is a vacation custom for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who round each Christmas grants them to a handful of unusual residents, sometimes for minor offenses dedicated years or a long time in the past.
However one title stands out on his desk: George Floyd.
Abbott has not mentioned whether or not he’ll posthumously pardon Floyd this yr for a 2004 drug arrest in Houston by a former officer whose police work is not trusted by prosecutors. Texas’ parole board — stacked with Abbott appointees — unanimously really helpful a pardon for Floyd in October.
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Since then, the two-term Republican governor, who’s up for reelection in 2022, has given no indication of whether or not he’ll grant what can be solely the second posthumous pardon in Texas historical past. Floyd, who was Black, spent a lot of his life in Houston earlier than transferring to Minnesota, the place his loss of life beneath the knee of a white police officer final yr led to a U.S. depending on race and policing.
“It doesn’t matter who you assume George Floyd was, or what you assume he stood for or didn’t stand for,” mentioned Allison Mathis, a public defender in Houston who submitted Floyd’s pardon utility. “What issues is he didn’t do that. It’s vital for the governor to appropriate the report to point out he didn’t do that.”
A spokeswoman for Abbott didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Pardons restore the rights of the convicted and forgive them within the eyes of the legislation. Floyd’s household and supporters mentioned a posthumous pardon for him in Texas would present a dedication to accountability.
In February 2004, Floyd was arrested in Houston for promoting $10 value of crack in a police sting. He pleaded responsible to a drug cost and served 10 months in jail.
His case occurred to be amongst dozens that prosecutors revisited within the fallout over a lethal drug raid in 2019 that resulted in homicide prices in opposition to an officer, Gerald Goines, who’s not with the Houston power. Prosecutors say Goines lied to acquire a search warrant within the 2019 raid that left a husband and spouse lifeless, and the workplace of Harris County District Legal professional Kim Ogg has since dismissed greater than 160 drug convictions tied to Goines.
Goines has pleaded not responsible and his attorneys accuse Ogg of launching the overview for political achieve.
Abbott has a number of main challengers from the far proper, and his ongoing silence a couple of potential pardon for Floyd has raised questions by Mathis and others over whether or not political calculations are at play. His workplace has not responded to these prices.
Abbott attended Floyd’s memorial service final yr in Houston, the place he met with the household and floated the thought of a “George Floyd Act” that will take goal at police brutality. However Abbott by no means publicly supported such a measure months later when lawmakers returned to the Capitol, the place Republicans as a substitute made police funding a precedence.
State Sen. Royce West, a Democrat who carried the “George Floyd Act” within the Senate, mentioned he understands the politics if Abbott was ready till after the GOP main elections in March. However he mentioned the governor ought to act on the advice.
“As he’s all the time mentioned, he’s a legislation and order governor,” West mentioned. “And this may be following the legislation.”