A police department in Galveston, Texas, has issued an apology after a viral photo showing horse-mounted officers leading a handcuffed Black man on a rope sparked outrage.
According to Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale, Donald Neely, 43, was arrested Saturday on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge. At the time of the arrest, a transportation unit was not immediately available, so Neely was handcuffed and escorted beside two police officers on horses.
People who saw the photo felt the treatment of Neely was “inhumane” and humiliating.
“You don't even do a dog like that," Sherri Kelly told ABC 13 Houston. "I don't care. That's inhumane."
"Where were they walking him to and why did they rope him if he was handcuffed? I don't think it's right," Cynthia Orise, a Galveston resident also told the local news station.
On Monday, Chief Vernon Hale released a statement saying while the officers used the technique that the police deem appropriate in some instances, this was not one of those cases.
"First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment," he said in the statement. "Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest. My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods.”
The police statement went on to say that while the officers, identified only as P. Brosch and A. Smith, did not have malicious intentions during the arrest, the department understands the negative connotation of the photo.
“We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique. The Police Chief has taken immediate action to suspend this technique of transportation during arrests,” the statement read.
Neely is free on bond and has not commented on the arrest.
(Photo: ManuelVelasco/Getty Images)
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