George Floyd

A Pending Pardon for George Floyd Shows How the Drug War Gives Cops a License To Lie

Floyd was arrested for selling crack by a crooked Houston narcotics cop who repeatedly lied to implicate people in drug crimes.

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Sixteen years before he died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, George Floyd was arrested in Houston, his hometown, for delivery of a controlled substance. It was a routine case involving a tiny amount of crack, which the arresting officer said Floyd had given to a "second suspect" so that person could sell it to the cop, who was posing as a buyer. Floyd ultimately pleaded guilty and served 10 months in jail.

Floyd's conviction was a sadly common illustration of the drug war's injustice and futility. No one would have given it a second look but for a 2019 raid in which Houston narcotics officers killed a middle-aged couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, at their house on Harding Street. That operation, it turned out, was based on lies from start to finish, and the cop who instigated it, veteran narcotics officer Gerald Goines, was the same man who had arrested Floyd in 2004. This week the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended that Gov. Greg Abbott grant Floyd a posthumous pardon for that crime in light of Goines' proven mendacity.

The pardon application, which Harris County public defender Allison Mathis submitted in April, is a window on how drug laws invite police not only to arrest people for peaceful conduct that violates no one's rights but also to invent that conduct from whole cloth. It's unclear how often that happens, because drug defendants who claim they were framed usually can't prove it, and their word counts for nothing against the testimony of police officers, who are presumed to be honest and dedicated public servants. Goines' history of arresting people on trumped-up charges shows the danger of that presumption.

The deadly Harding Street raid discovered no evidence that Tuttle or Nicholas was selling heroin, as Goines had claimed in his search warrant affidavit. A few weeks later, Goines admitted that he had invented a heroin purchase by a nonexistent confidential informant. That revelation led to state and federal charges against Goines, including tampering with government documents and felony murder. Last June, Steven Bryant, a narcotics officer who had backed up Goines' phony story, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of obstructing justice by falsifying records. The Harding Street raid also prompted the Harris County District Attorney's Office to reexamine thousands of cases involving Goines and his colleagues in the Houston Police Department's Narcotics Division.

Prosecutors identified more than 160 drug cases in which Goines was the sole witness or wrote a search warrant affidavit. They sent letters to the defendants, suggesting that they could challenge their convictions based on Goines' pattern of dishonesty. Two of those defendants, Otis Mallet and his brother Steven Mallet, were eventually declared "actually innocent" by a state appeals court.

Goines' testimony was the only evidence against Otis and Steven Mallet. There were no other witnesses to the alleged transaction, and the can that he claimed contained the crack he supposedly bought had no usable fingerprints. Neighbors said they had not seen anything like the transaction Goines described. A drug-sniffing dog did not alert to the truck where Mallet allegedly had stashed the can of crack. During Otis Mallet's trial, the prosecution said that, given his many years of public service, Goines "deserves to be treated with more respect than he's been treated with."

Otis Mallet, who filed a federal lawsuit against Goines in August, had always maintained that Goines implicated him and his brother in a crack sale that never happened. The prosecutors who reexamined the 2008 case agreed, saying Goines "repeatedly lied about nearly every aspect" of the supposed transaction. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Goines' refusal to testify at Otis Mallet's innocence hearing was "compelling evidence that the entire alleged narcotics transaction was a fraud."

Although prosecutors tried to notify Floyd of his opportunity to reverse his conviction, they sent the letter to a Houston address after he had moved to Minneapolis, so he probably never received it. But the case against him, as described by Mathis in her pardon application, fits the pattern illustrated by the Harding Street raid and the arrests of Otis and Steven Mallet.

Goines "alleged that Floyd was in possession of .03 grams of crack cocaine at the time of his arrest, and that Floyd had provided the drugs to an unnamed 'second suspect' who had agreed to sell the drugs to the undercover Goines." That "second suspect" was not arrested, Goines said, "in a [sic] attempt to further the narcotic trafficing [sic] in this area." Presumably he meant that he hoped this individual would be valuable as an informant. But for all we know, this person was just as imaginary as the informant who supposedly bought heroin from Tuttle.

In the Mallet case, Goines likewise said he had been assisted by an informant. That person, he claimed in a May 2008 expense report, "provided information to officers that narcotics were being stored and sold from the location" where Otis and Steven Mallet had been arrested the previous month. In return for his help, Goines said, "the informant was paid two hundred dollars." The informant's involvement was conspicuously missing from Goines' description of the crack purchase in his arrest report and other case documents.

"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," Mathis writes. "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."

If so, why did Floyd plead guilty? One might ask the same question about Steven Mallet, who pleaded guilty to possession in exchange for a sentence of time served—10 months. He said he had rejected an earlier plea deal that would have required him to implicate his brother and decided to plead guilty only so he could get out of jail. Despite the guilty plea, the appeals court agreed that he was innocent.

Floyd faced even more pressure to plead guilty. "If Floyd had gone to trial," Mathis says, "he would have faced punishment enhancements that would have branded him a habitual offender and could have sent him to prison for a minimum of twenty-five years. Like many people forced through the twisted criminal justice system in the United States, Floyd confessed to save his life. In exchange for his plea of guilty, those enhancements were not pursued. Floyd served his ten months in State Jail and was released."

Floyd committed his most serious crime, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, in 2007, three years after Goines arrested him for selling crack. He pleaded guilty in 2009 and received a five-year prison sentence. But by the time of his 2004 arrest, Floyd had been convicted of three felonies: delivering less than a gram of cocaine in 1997, theft in 1998, and possessing less than a gram of cocaine in 2002. Any two of these would have been enough to justify penalty enhancements under the Texas "habitual offender" statute if prosecutors had decided to pursue them.

Given Floyd's history at the time of his 2004 arrest, the crack charge was completely plausible on its face, which helps explain why it received no scrutiny until Goines' habitual dishonesty was revealed 15 years later. It may also explain why Goines had no compunction about framing Floyd, assuming that is what he did.

It is impossible to say for sure whether Goines was telling the truth in 2004. But Harris County prosecutors have reasonably concluded that Goines is demonstrably untrustworthy, which casts doubt on any conviction that hinged on his word. The drug war effectively gives cops like Goines a license to lie, since it justifies arrests and convictions in cases where the only witness is a cop and the only evidence is a transaction he claims to have seen, along with drugs that easily could have been obtained through other means.

As of 2019, when Goines retired* in the wake of the Harding Street raid, he had been employed by the Houston Police Department for 34 years, despite multiple allegations of testilying and sloppy evidence handling. "If the magistrate who Goines asked to sign a warrant to permit the raid on Harding Street had known of his history of lies and deception," Ogg observed last year, "he would not have signed it, and Rhogena and Dennis would likely still be alive today."

Then–Police Chief Art Acevedo repeatedly described the cops who killed Tuttle and Nicholas as "heroes," lavishing praise on Goines in particular. "He's a big teddy bear," Acevedo said. "He's a big African American, a strong ox, tough as nails, and the only thing bigger than his body, in terms of his stature, is his courage. I think God had to give him that big body to be able to contain his courage, because the man's got some tremendous courage."

Even after Goines' lies were revealed, Acevedo, who is now Miami's police chief, denied that the Harding Street raid reflected "systemic" problems in the Narcotics Division. The charges that Ogg eventually brought against a dozen Houston narcotics officers, which included allegations of falsifying records and claiming phony overtime as well as a murder charge against another officer who participated in the raid, painted a different picture. "Goines and others could never have preyed on our community the way they did without the participation of their supervisors," she said. "Every check and balance in place to stop this type of behavior was circumvented."

Given the culture of lax or actively complicit supervision described in Ogg's charges and in federal lawsuits brought by the Tuttle and Nicholas families, it is easier to understand how Goines could get away with lying to implicate people in drug crimes for so long. The question is how many other cops like him are working for police departments across the country, treated as heroes as they systematically subvert justice.

*CORRECTION: This post originally said Goines "resigned."

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    1. Cap prosecutor salaries to the same level as public defender salaries.

      1. I’ve sometimes thought that one solution is to not allow the prosecution to spend more than the defense; or alternatively, every dime the prosecution spends has to come with a matching check to the defense. But money is fungible and it is too easy to work around such limits.

        Better to require the prosecution to prove ALL their charges. If they overcharge, and the jury finds one single not proven, ALL fail. Then take the punishment the prosecution was trying for and apply it back to the prosecution, of course all in money, coming from the prosecutor’s budget. If the going rate for false imprisonment is $25K/year, then trying and failing to stuff a guy in prison for 10 years is $250K to the defendant, out of the prosecutor’s budget, in addition to paying the full defense budget, also out of the prosecutor’s budget.

        But nothing of the sort will ever happen.

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      2. I like the idea of prosecutors and public defenders being randomly selected from the same pool of lawyers.

  1. Hey hey hey! Look at how great we are at signaling about how anti-racist we are!

    What? Change laws to ultimately affect people today and tomorrow and reduce our authority? Well that’s just crazy-talk!

    (more back-patting follows)

  2. This guy definitely deserves a statue in multiple cities across the country.

    1. I think the statues should portray various parts of this saints life.
      My favorite is when in the midst of a home invasion, he pointed his gun at the belly of a very pregnant woman.

      1. Which one of his five “colleagues” pistol whipped.

        Although now they claim there’s no “proof” that the woman Floyd’s pal pistol whipped was pregnant. Probably easily verifiable if there were any true journalists covering stories involved with BLM movement.

      2. Came here to say the same.

        Whether Chauvin or the fentanyl (he was dieing soon anyway using the drugs he regularly used) killed him, he’s burning in hell.

        The lesson really should be…

        “After violating multiple rights of a black pregnant woman, among numerous other terrible deeds, laws broken, and rights violations committed by Mr. Floyd, black people finally care about SOMEONES rights now that a cop is involved”

        1. Come now, he was a changed man. Its not like he was drunk and doing a bunch of drugs and trying to commit a crime when the cops got called on him.

  3. veteran narcotics officer Gerald Goines, was the same man who had arrested Floyd in 2004. This week the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended that Gov. Greg Abbott grant Floyd a posthumous pardon for that crime in light of Goines’ proven mendacity.

    If there was more diversity within the police ranks, we could start to see a real reduction of this kind of corruption that stems from White Supremacy.

    1. sarcasm? Gerald Goines is black.

      1. So is Larry Elder.
        That didn’t stop the commies from labeling him as a white supremacist.

        1. The black face of white supremacy!
          L.A. Times

          1. not black face black face, just black face

  4. Anything to deify a monster.

    1. He has been deified by renaming the substance to Floydanyl. I’m not not kidding.

        1. I’d change the name to

          “Don’t be a menace (I can’t breathe edition)”

  5. …and their word counts for nothing against the testimony of police officers, who are presumed to be honest and dedicated public servants.

    Not true. It’s an open secret that cops lie about everything, especially in court. They call it testilying. Judges know. Prosecutors know. Defense attorneys know. Everyone knows. But nobody does anything because they’re afraid it would break down the “public trust.”

      1. You know what… Sarcasmic is just wrong drunk yet again.

      2. A few cases where cops are prosecuted for lying doesn’t really disprove the claim that police lying in court is a common occurrence.

  6. Thin blue line is all that stands between us and freedom.

    1. But it’s so hard to get throught

      1. Those brave union bosses keeping the status quo intact.

    2. I could liberate a whole boot up your ass and nobody else would have to get up.

      What a wonderful world it would be.

  7. But Harris County prosecutors have reasonably concluded that Goines is demonstrably untrustworthy, which casts doubt on any conviction that hinged on his word.

    That’s the problem of an untrustworthy state actor who is central to the prosecution in criminal cases. Once they’re found to be dishonest, and guilty of widespread dishonesty, everything else they’ve done now has to come into question. This reminds me a bit of the Massachusetts drug lab scandal.

    1. Or Harris County’s own crime lab scandal.

      That Goines is a lying piece of shit, doesn’t necessarily mean he was lying for every one of his arrests. I’d want more evidence for a conviction than just Goines’s say-so, but get real: anyone think this sort of behavior was completely out of character for George Floyd? The same guy who died of eating a speedball?

      Let’s pardon everyone else Goines lied into prison before we get down to looking at Floyd. Who should be congratulated on his year and a third of sobriety.

  8. Thankfully, Floyd didn’t overdose on the crack or the Houston officer would have been jailed for the death that happened while Floyd was being arrested.

    1. Winner.

      I couldn’t read past the first few sentences of this post without killing myself.

      The fact that Floyd was a habitual law breaker and drug dealer is completely lost in the narrative.

  9. clap clap VIRTUE clap clap SIGNAL clap clap VIRTUE SIGNAL VIRTUE [pause] SIGNAL!

    I am not sure which I am more frustrated with, the inevitable conflation of this pardon with the crime that lead to Floyd’s death by cop, or the pressure on a Governor in a nearly purple state who is actually holding out against the LockUsDown crowd to sign a posthumous pardon for a guy who was convicted of robbing a pregnant woman at gunpoint 3 years after the incident that Goines may have lied about.

    Kobayashi Maru, baby.

    1. There was a ruling at the Minnesota supreme court just this week that said one of the charges against Chauvin was unconstitutional. But we will ignore that here. Luckily Chauvin’s judge understood and dropped it pre trial, but it was used against a different cop where it wasn’t.

      1. I am one of the few people I know who actually believes that it is better for a dozen guilty men to go free than to convict one innocent man. But if Chauvin’s conviction is overturned, there is going to be a meltdown that nobody is prepared for. We may very well see a repeat of the reaction to the Capitol Milling on Jan 6. Guard troops deployed for months.

        1. Agree on all points. Hopefully Biden refrains from deploying his drones.

          1. “Due to safety concerns the election has been postponed.”

            1. LOL, no. Even shitholes like Venezuela and Iraq hold elections.

              You just can’t trust them, is all.

              RIP that band-aid right off. I will absolutely roar at Reason trying to make excuses for Biden’s DOJ coming down on BLM protesters/no-longer-useful idiots like the foot of Godzilla on Bambi.

        2. I don’t agree on convictions merely to stop political reactions.

          1. Yes. On so many levels.

        3. Correct…all you need to do is take a good look at all the criminals being set free and allowed to roam the streets of Chicago and then take note of the consequences of not prosecuting them.
          Chicago is war zone. No one is safe.

    2. >>nearly purple state

      nah

      1. Dude, I live in Austin. My printer uses very little magenta toner.

        1. Austin is lost. The hippie cowboys are now just commies.

          For that matter, most of DFW, all of Houston and San Antonio are lost.

          Just some of the reasons we are heading to the hill country and a private, dead-end road.

          1. Central Houston is quite blue, but the surrounding regions are solidly red. Even our democrats are decidedly to the right of average, with a few notable exceptions, especially on economic and regulatory side. Most people in this city know what will happen if oil is banned.

            Interestingly, this has led to agencies like the TCEQ becoming very good at their jobs. They are much stricter than the federal EPA or surrounding states like Louisiana, but they are also quite lenient to allowing growth and construction, unlike California. The active competition between the sides tends to give us relatively balanced governance.

    3. the crime that lead to Floyd’s death by cop,

      WHAT crime are you talking about? His attempt t pass a twenty dollar bil that as counterfeit? His possession and ingestion of HUGE doses of fentanyl and meth?

      Officer Chauvin was precisely folloiwng protocols he and one of the otehr officers had been carefully taught at training not long before this incident in HOW to identify those overdosed on drugs, and WHAT to do to try and save them. He had leared well and was follwoing precisely the protocols taught. His fellow officer and he both independently identified Floyd’s condition then mentioned it, and took the actions they’d been taught at their training.

      Crime? What crime? The only crimes commited in regards that incident are the crimes Flyd committed. Oh well.. he’s gone, so now they have to find someone to take the place of their badly needed scapegoat.

      1. Lighten up Francis.

        I meant Floyd’s crime for which Floyd was being arrested. Which has nothing to do with this pardon, but idiot lefties will think it does.

        That he died under the knee of a cop is incontrovertible based on video evidence, hence my wording. If you disagree with the jury’s decision regarding culpability for Floyd’s death, I understand the arguments and there is no need to rehash them for my sake.

    4. The fact that he ingested a fatal amount of fentanyl had nothing to do with then.

  10. never. go. to. Houston.

    1. What Dillinger says. But the food is really good.

      1. That pall of road smog really sets off a vigorous glass of Chianti and steak.

    2. Houston, we have a problem?

  11. To have a reasonable idea of how law-enforcers will perform their job, one must understand what underlying nature/desire motivated them to their profession to start with. Maybe many law enforcers target/acquire such authoritative fields of employment mainly for ‘power’ reasons (though perhaps subconsciously).

    Almost all of us guys, as some gals, have as children fantasized about, and even planned for, a future as law enforcers in some form or another. But almost all of us, probably sooner than later, grew out of that dream, as it wasn’t reflective of our nature. …

    It is a profession in which, besides the basic tackle and/or handcuffing, adrenalin-pumped employees might storm into suspects’ homes, screaming, with fully-automatic machineguns or handguns drawn, at the homes’ occupants, all of whom, including infants, can be permanently traumatized from the experience. Occasionally the law-enforcers force their way into the wrong home, altogether; that is when open-fire can and does occur, followed by wrongful deaths to be ‘impartially’ investigated.

  12. “Every check and balance in place to stop this type of behavior was circumvented.”

    But every check and balance is based on how many lives a cop destroys. Their performance reviews don’t tally the number of crimes they prevent from happening, admittedly that requires precognition, but on how many poor bastards they lock up. When you reward death and destruction with pay raises, accolades, and QI, what do you really expect to get?

  13. The Wikipedia article on the Tuttle raid in Houston is
    Pecan Park raid

    1. Goines was a serial liar and every conviction based only on his word should overturned.

      As for George Floyd, what did he do 25 May 2020 to deserve the death penalty? Seriously.

      1. “…what did he do 25 May 2020 to deserve the death penalty?”

        Eat his stash like the stupid thug he was, then lie to the cops about what he’d done.

        1. Precisely. Especially when his stash contained fatal amounts of fentanyl.

        2. Nailed it.

          Chauvin certainly didn’t help the situation but Floyd wasn’t murdered. He OD’d.

    2. Were they after Buttle?

    3. Anything printed in Wiki should be taken with a few grains of salt. In fact it should be highly suspect of being anywhere near the truth.
      Even the founder of Wikipedia recently stated that the website is pure trash.(Polite words)

  14. In remembrance, the substance is called Floydanyl now. You’re being policiccally incortect.

  15. There is no indication that the cop lied in the Floyd case.

    The pardon for Floyd is politically motivated: an attempt at redeeming a criminal who has become a political propaganda tool.

    1. Goines lied and fabricated evidence and witnesses that did not exist bringing over 100 cases into question. Some have called for every case he brought in Houston be reviewed.

      Floyd was not an angel, but that should not be a pass for Goines or the f’d up messes Houston police chief Aceveda has left in his wake. Even now, Miami is beginning to realize the mistake they made hiring Aceveda, the Democrat party poster chief.

  16. A false flag for sleepy murikans to swallow. NO.. it wasn’t even GF.. just a patsy.. a CIA/deep state construct. GF was 6ft6in. The patsy was shorter than one of the cops. There were a TOTAL of 54, (FIFTY FOUR) anomalies. Search. ”Rense. CIA Derek Chauvin False Flag Fake TV Trial – Read By Miles Mathis 4-26-21”.

    1. What does this have to do with HAARP?

  17. If, by the time you get around to pardoning someone, they’re dead, then you may have waited too long.

    But so long as you get to posture and virtue-signal, I guess it’s all good.

  18. For the love of God can we just let this horrible, criminal, idiot go. Gheesshhhh

    1. Unfortunately the left made a folk hero of him.

  19. Folks are virtue signaling so hard, “virtue” is losing all meaning.

    I have no sympathy for Mr. Floyd. He made many, repeated shitty decisions and finally cashed in his shit ticket as a result. Was it right – no. But everything that resulted was because of his poor choices.
    No sympathy for Mr. Chauvin either. Shitty decisions all around.

  20. The idea of nearly turning George Floyd into a saint or local hero is something to be amazed at. A career criminal and pornographer as well as drug addict who couldn’t clean himself up if he wanted, which obviously he didn’t want to, instead continued on his path to an early death at his own hands. No one forced him to purchase the drugs with which he used to commit suicide with. He mad all those poor decisions himself.
    Now certain people wish to deify him with murals, statues and the like. How soon before a movie is made about what an all around great guy Floyd was.
    Take note that a number of murals have been destroyed and just recently a bust of him was defaced when someone splashed a can of paint on it.
    Even the Taliban doesn’t like him.
    Floyd was a career criminal who made his own bed. The fact that he died while in police custody while highly intoxicated on various drugs including fentanyl does little to dissuade people’s attitude towards him.

    1. Agreed. I only (started) to read this post because of how disgusting the entire situation is. I couldn’t get past the virtue signaling in the first few sentences.

      The fact that this many fellow Americans are so easily lied to by their “news sources” and so easily mislead that they mourn the overdose death of a shit-for-brains thug like Floyd is incredibly disappointing.

    2. Yeah, making him into some icon or hero is pretty weird and stupid. I think outrage over the manner of his death is justified, but the man himself doesn’t seem to be someone anyone should celebrate.
      I swear, it seems like someone is deliberately picking the worst people to be the poster-children for BLM.

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