Whether to forgive George Floyd
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Giving thanksgiving is a holiday tradition for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who bestows them every Christmas on a handful of ordinary citizens, usually for minor infractions committed years or years ago. decades.
But one name stands out on his desk: George Floyd.
Abbott has not said whether he will forgive Floyd posthumously this year for a 2004 drug arrest in Houston by a former officer whose prosecutors no longer trust the work of the police. The Texas Parole Board – made up of people appointed by Abbott – unanimously recommended a pardon for Floyd in October.
Since then, the two-term Republican governor, who is running for re-election in 2022, has given no indication of whether he would grant what would only be the second posthumous pardon in Texas history. Floyd, who was black, spent much of his life in Houston before moving to Minnesota, where his death below the knee of a white police officer last year led the United States to consider race and of the police.
“It doesn’t matter who you think George Floyd was, or what you think he stood for or didn’t stand for,” said Allison Mathis, a public defender in Houston who submitted Floyd’s pardon request. “What matters is that he didn’t do that. It is important that the governor corrects the file to show that he did not do this.
An Abbott spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
Pardons restore the rights of the condemned and forgive them in the eyes of the law. Floyd’s family and supporters have said a posthumous forgiveness for him in Texas would show a commitment to responsibility.
In February 2004, Floyd was arrested in Houston for selling $ 10 worth of crack cocaine in a police attack. He pleaded guilty to a drug charge and served 10 months in prison.
His case was one of dozens prosecutors re-examined in the fallout of a deadly 2019 drug raid that resulted in murder charges against an officer, Gerald Goines, who is no longer in the Houston Forces. Prosecutors say Goines lied to get a search warrant in the 2019 raid that left a husband and wife dead, and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office has since dismissed more than 160 drug convictions related to Goines.
Goines has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers accuse Ogg of initiating the review for political gain.
Abbott has several main far-right challengers, and his lingering silence over a possible forgiveness for Floyd has raised questions by Mathis and others about whether political calculations are at stake. His office has not responded. to these accusations.
Abbott attended Floyd’s memorial service last year in Houston, where he met the family and pitched the idea of a “George Floyd Act” that would target police brutality. But Abbott never publicly backed such a move months later, when lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill, where Republicans made police funding a priority instead.
State Senator Royce West, a Democrat who passed the “George Floyd Act” in the Senate, said he understood the politics if Abbott waited after the GOP primary elections in March. But he said the governor should act on the recommendation.
“As he’s always said, he’s a governor of law and order,” West said. “And that would be following the law.”
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