The Monster Cop Who Encountered George Floyd in Houston

·4 min read
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty/Houston Police Department
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty/Houston Police Department

Among the mourners at George Floyd’s funeral was Harris County Attorney Kim Ogg, whose office sent Floyd a letter last year saying he may have been a victim of a police injustice, long before the one that killed him.

The letter is dated March 8, 2019, and was sent to 3512 Nalle St. in Houston, the last address listed in court records. His mother, Larcenia Floyd, resided there until her death on May 30, 2018. Floyd had not lived here since 2014, when he moved to Minneapolis. He may have never received the notification that addressed him not as Mr. Floyd or as George Floyd, but as he is listed in the case cited at the top of the page.

Re: State of Texas v. FLOYD, GEORGE PERRY

Cause #097658901010

Harris County, 185th District Court

Dear FLOYD, GEORGE PERRY,

Based on a review of criminal cases filed in Harris County, Texas, it appears that former Houston Police Department Officer Gerald Goines may have been involved in the above-referenced case which resulted in your conviction.

Please be informed that Officer Goines has been relieved of duty and is currently under criminal investigation.

This notice is provided solely for the purpose of forwarding to you information of which this office has become aware. This office makes no representations regarding relevance or materiality of this information to your case.

Goines had been the one and only witness when he arrested Floyd back on Feb. 5, 2004, for supposedly providing him with less than a gram of cocaine. The prosecutor originally offered Floyd two years in prison if he pleaded guilty. Floyd balked, but finally agreed when the offer was reduced to 10 months.

Had he gone to trial, he would have faced serious time. And, as in any case based solely on the word of the arresting officer, it would have come down to whom the jury was going to believe: He said, Cop said.

Goines’ veracity in general was called into question after he was arrested last year. He was alleged to have cited a fictitious informant in securing a search warrant for a house where there was supposed drug dealing. The ensuing raid resulted in Dennis Tuttle and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas, being shot to death by police, who also killed their dog. No drugs were found. The couple seems to have been wholly innocent.

Goines was charged with murder last August on the grounds that the raid and therefore the deaths would never have occurred without the search warrant. The Harris County district attorney subsequently sought to overturn 73 cases in which Goines was the only person who witnessed the supposed transaction.

That included the case against Floyd, who subsequently went from encountering one of the very worst cops in Houston to encountering one of the very worst cops in Minneapolis. The whole world watched Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck until he died. Chauvin now also faces murder charges.

The Houston case was just another minor drug bust, whereas the Minneapolis case sparked the ongoing protests that have rocked the nation. But the difference in magnitude as well as locale makes it important to consider both cases at once. We are reminded that police misconduct is not confined to one city and occurs not just in extreme circumstances recorded by cellphones, but also in routine cases noticed only by those who suffer the immediate consequences.

Floyd’s attorney in the 2004 bust, James Brooks, has since died of cancer. Neither he nor Floyd is able to report particulars of the case beyond what is in the public case file. Nor were they around on June 5 to hear Ogg note on a Houston TV news show that Floyd had run into a nightmare officer in Houston as well as in Minneapolis.

“One of those horrible coincidences which I would say are not just a coincidence but a product of a systemic problem,” Ogg said.

She described Floyd as “one of Goines’ victims.” Her office has determined there are 91 people who were convicted as the result of search warrants where Goines was the affiant. That brings the total to 164.

“Anybody who was wrongly convicted by Gerald Goines or any other officers in the squad need to have their names cleared,” Ogg said.

That prominently includes Floyd, even after his life was ended by that other monster cop in Minneapolis.

“He would have been entitled to relief, and posthumously we can’t necessarily grant that, but I’m going to see what we can do,” she said.

Ogg could not be reached for further comment on Tuesday.

“The district attorney is not available,” a spokesperson said. “She is attending Mr. Floyd’s funeral.”

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