Texas public defender’s office seeks posthumous pardon for George Floyd

Texas public defender’s office seeks posthumous pardon for George Floyd

George Floyd mural

HOUSTON, Texas — An application for a posthumous pardon of George Floyd’s 2004 conviction in Texas was filed Monday on behalf of Floyd and his surviving family, according to a copy of the application obtained by CNN.

In the application, Allison Mathis of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office said that even though Floyd worked to change his life after being released in 2013 from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the request for posthumous pardon wasn’t based on what had or had not been done. Mathis said it was filed because the arresting officer in Floyd’s case “manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants.”

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 said in a statement to 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’ attorney, Nicole DeBorde, told CNN the application “doesn’t raise any new evidence whatsoever and it’s unfortunate really because the request is based entirely on information that has not been finalized.”

“Essentially, they’re alleging that indictments, which are just pending accusations, should support that the underlying conviction be undone,” DeBorde said. “We stand by the original case. We certainly sympathize with Mr. Floyd’s cause, but that doesn’t change the fact that his former conviction was a legitimate one.”

On March 8, 2019, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to Floyd at a previous address in Houston trying to notify him that Goines was under criminal investigation and had been involved with Floyd’s earlier case, the application states. Floyd moved to Minnesota in 2014, the application states.

“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,” the application says.

Officer who arrested Floyd involved in deadly no-knock raid

Goines was involved in 2019 in a high-profile case known as the Harding Street killings in which he obtained a warrant for a “no-knock” raid from a municipal judge under false pretenses, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told CNN.

The warrant claimed a criminal informant purchased heroin from a man at the address in southeast Houston and that the man selling drugs was known to have a gun, among other things. This meant there was no need for police to knock on a door before entering, Ogg said.

The raid left two people dead and five police officers injured.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office agreed to post-conviction relief for some of the defendants that were arrested by Goines, according to Floyd’s posthumous pardon application. Goines, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, was indicted on two charges of felony murder and tampering with a government record, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

“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 to CNN Monday. “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.”

DeBorde, Goines’ attorney, told CNN her client pleaded not guilty to all charges.

CNN has reached out to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office for comment but has not yet heard back.

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