A Texas board that unanimously supported a posthumous pardon for George Floyd over a 2004 drug arrest in Houston has withdrawn that recommendation over "procedural errors" after sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk, the Associated Press reports. The unusual reversal announced by Abbott's office two days before Christmas — around the time he typically grants pardons — drew outrage from a public defender who had submitted the pardon application for Floyd, who spent much of his life in Houston before his death in 2020 at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Floyd's name was withdrawn along with two dozen other clemency recommendations that had been submitted by the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles. In a letter dated Dec. 16, the board told Abbott that it had identified "unexplained departures" from its process of issuing pardons and needed to reconsider some recommendations, including the one for Floyd.
"As a result of the Board's withdrawal of the recommendation concerning George Floyd, Governor Abbott did not have the opportunity to consider it," sajd Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze. Allison Mathis, a Houston public defender who submitted the pardon application on behalf of Floyd, called the last-minute reversal a "ridiculous farce." Pardons restore the rights of the convicted and forgive them in the eyes of the law. In Floyd's case, his family and supporters said a posthumous pardon would show a commitment to accountability. Abbott attended Floyd's memorial service last year in Houston, where he met with the family and floated the idea of a "George Floyd Act" that would take aim at police brutality. When the Texas Legislature convened months later, Abbott was silent on policing reforms pushed by Democrats and made police funding a priority.