The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has reversed its decision to grant George Floyd a posthumous pardon for a 2004 drug conviction, according to a letter obtained by CNN.
The about-face on Wednesday comes nearly a year after the board voted unanimously to recommend the pardon and more than two years after Floyd was killed by a former Minneapolis officer.
The board did not cite a reason for its decision in the letter, which was sent Thursday to the Harris County public defender working on behalf of Floyd’s surviving family members.
“After a full and careful review of the application and other information filed with the application, a majority of the Board decided not to recommend a Full Pardon and/or Pardon for Innocence,” the letter states.
Floyd’s family filed the pardon application on his behalf in April 2021. The family may reapply in two years, according to the letter.
In the application, Allison Mathis, an attorney with the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, said the request was filed because the arresting officer in Floyd’s drug case, Gerald Goines, “manufactured the existence of confidential informants to bolster his cases against innocent defendants.”
An attorney for Goines told CNN at the time, “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.”
Goines arrested Floyd on February 5, 2004, alleging at the time that Floyd possessed crack cocaine and 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 an “attempt to further the narcotic trafficing [sic] in this area.”
Goines, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, was later indicted and pleaded not guilty on unrelated charges of felony murder and tampering with a government record. His case remains pending.
Floyd, who is Black, died in 2020 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is White, knelt onto Floyd’s neck for several minutes during an arrest. The killing catalyzed global and national protests condemning social injustice, particularly in regards to the excessive force law enforcement officers use against people of color. Chauvin was convicted on multiple murder charges.
Last December, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced the parole board had withdrawn 25 clemency recommendations, including Floyd’s, citing “procedural errors and lack of compliance with Board rules.”
Board members are appointed by the state’s governor, and the most recent member was appointed about two weeks ago, according to the board’s website.
CNN has reached out to Abbott’s office and the state pardon and parole board for further comment.