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Texas board rescinds recommendation for posthumous pardon of George Floyd

A person in silhouette stands looking at a memorial for George Floyd.
Carlos Barria
/
Reuters
A person stands at the "Say Their Names" cemetery on the day of the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 20, 2021.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles cited a procedural error for the decision, but seemed to leave open the possibility that it would reconsider the issue in the near future.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has rescinded its recommendation that Gov. Greg Abbott pardon George Floyd, the Houston man who was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis in May of 2020.

The governor’s office announced the decision Thursday, along with the board’s reversal on 24 other clemency suggestions due to what it described as procedural errors and a lack of compliance with board rules. But it appeared to leave the door open to Floyd receiving a pardon at a later date.

“The Board will review and resolve procedural errors and issues related to any pending applications in compliance with their rules,” Abbott press secretary Renae Eze said in a statement. “As a result of the Board's withdrawal of the recommendation concerning George Floyd, Governor Abbott did not have the opportunity to consider it. Governor Abbott will review all recommendations that the Board submits for consideration."

Allison Mathis, a Houston public defender who had put the request before the parole board, told The Texas Tribune Thursday that she was “furious” by the decision. She said the request had already been through a compliance review and none of the seven appointed board members had raised an issue with it.

The state’s parole board, in a surprising unanimous decision, had recommended in October that Floyd be pardoned for a minor 2004 drug conviction in Houston. Days after the board's recommendation, Abbott briefly told reporters at an unrelated event that his office would analyze Floyd’s case. The governor has since been quiet on the matter.

Abbott’s rhetoric on Floyd’s killing has ricocheted over the past year and a half. At first, he called Floyd’s killing senseless and reprehensible, promising change and waving at a potential Texas George Floyd Act to prevent police brutality in the state.

As Floyd’s murder continued to spur a new wave of protests nationwide against police brutality and racial injustice, the Houstonian became a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement. Calls for widespread change to American policing included efforts to cut police budgets and shift law enforcement responsibilities to other government programs.

Abbott then shifted defending law enforcement funding and “backing the blue” while quieting on potential changes to policing practices.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.