Recently, photos of a handcuffed Black homeless and mentally ill man tied by a rope to two white horse-mounted officers went viral on social media and sparked national outrage. Despite this, the Texas cops will not face criminal charges.
On August 3, Donald Neely was arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Instead of being placed in the back of a police vehicle, the 43-year-old was roped to a horse the cops were riding while his hands were handcuffed behind his back.
The Galveston police department admitted their officers used “poor judgment” and said it would stop using the procedure.
In a statement, Chief Vernon Hale apologized for Neely’s “unnecessary embarrassment.”
"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.”
Despite the apology, Chief Hale said the cops, identified as Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith, did not have malicious intentions during the arrest and will not face charges.
“The Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed. The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation.”
There is a current second investigation pending by the Galveston County sheriff’s office who will review whether the cops breached any department policies.
Neely was later released on bond as Brosch and Smith returned to work days after his arrest.
The viral photos sparked nationwide wrath, comparing the pictures to slavery.
Christin Neely, Neely’s sister-in-law, condemned how the department treated her brother-in-law, posting to Facebook: “He was treated like an animal paraded through the streets by two incompetent assh*les.”
Neely’s attorney, Melissa Morris, said she was not surprised that a criminal investigation was not ordered, but still believes the cops behaved unethically.
“I can understand them deciding there’s no criminal action with these officers,” Morris said. “I still think it’s poor judgment even if it’s within the confines of policy.”
On Monday, Morris and Ben Crump, Neely’s civil attorney, demanded the Galveston Police Department release body camera footage of the arrest within one month.
A civil rights march has been created in honor of Neely by Crump, scheduled to start at the Eugenia and George Sealy Pavilion in Galveston at 4 p.m. on September 15.
Photo: Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images