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Texas Parole Board Recommends Posthumous Pardon for George Floyd

A woman kneels to weep at the spot where George Floyd was killed, as people gather during the sentencing hearing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd's murder, in Minneapolis, June 25, 2021.

The state parole board in the southeastern U.S. state of Texas has recommended that Governor Greg Abbott grant a posthumous pardon to George Floyd, whose death while in the custody of Minneapolis police sparked global protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

Floyd was arrested in his hometown of Houston in February 2004 and charged with selling $10 of crack cocaine, for which he served 10 months in jail after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

But Floyd’s conviction came under renewed scrutiny after the narcotics officer who arrested him was indicted on two counts of felony murder in a botched 2019 drug raid that ended in the deaths of a Houston couple. The deadly raid sparked allegations that the officer, Gerald Goines, fabricated evidence to justify the warrants that led to hundreds of drug raids and arrests. He is also facing federal civil rights charges in the case.

At least 150 convictions from Goines’s cases have been dismissed by prosecutors, while several officers with his unit have been indicted. Goines is no longer with the Houston police force.

The seven-member parole board voted unanimously on Monday to recommend Floyd’s pardon to Governor Abbott. There has been no response from the governor’s office.

Floyd died in May 2020 after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes while Floyd was being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

The incident was captured on cellphone video, triggering outrage over the treatment of Blacks at the hands of police. Chauvin was convicted of Floyd’s murder earlier this year and is serving a 22-and-½ year prison sentence.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.