World news

Pardon request submitted for George Floyd in 2004 Texas case

George Floyd died in May last year
AP Reporters

A posthumous pardon request was submitted on Monday to Texas officials on behalf of George Floyd for a 2004 drug arrest conducted by a now indicted ex-Houston police officer whose case history is under scrutiny following a deadly drug raid.

The May 2020 killing of Mr Floyd, who was black, by white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin prompted worldwide protests against racial injustice. Chauvin was convicted last week of murder and manslaughter for Mr Floyd’s killing.

Years before his death, Mr Floyd was arrested in Houston — where he grew up — in February 2004 by former police officer Gerald Goines for selling 10 dollars worth of crack in a police sting. Mr Floyd later pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was sentenced to 10 months in a state jail.

Mr Goines is now facing two counts of felony murder, as well as other charges in both state and federal court, for a deadly 2019 drug raid in which Dennis Tuttle, 59, and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were killed.

Prosecutors allege Mr Goines, 56, lied to obtain the warrant to search the couple’s home by claiming a confidential informant had bought heroin there. Mr Goines later said there was no informant and that he had bought the drugs himself, they allege.

More than 160 drug convictions tied to Mr Goines have since been dismissed by prosecutors. A dozen current and former officers, including Mr Goines, who are tied to the narcotics unit that conducted the drug raid, have been indicted in the wake of the fatal shooting of the couple.

Allison Mathis, from the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, alleges Mr Goines also made up a confidential informant in Mr Floyd’s case and “no one bothered to question the word of a veteran cop against that of a previously-convicted black man”.

Mr Floyd pleaded guilty to avoid a possible 25-year sentence because of his past criminal history, Ms Mathis wrote in her office’s posthumous pardon application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

A pardon “wouldn’t erase the memory, personal or institutional, of this thing that happened to him, or the things that would happen to him later,” Ms Mathis said. “It would show that the state of Texas is interested in fundamental fairness, in admitting its mistakes, and in working to increase the accountability for police officers who break our trust and their oaths, and harm our people rather than serve them.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access