A Black man who was photographed being led down the street while tied to a rope by two Galveston, Tex., police officers on horseback is suing the city for $1 million, saying that he was humiliated by the experience.
Lawyers for Donald Neely, 44, filed suit in Galveston County District Court, saying Neely was physically injured and suffered emotional distress. The lawyers also claim malicious prosecution and negligence by the officers when Neely was arrested in August 2019 for trespassing, according to the Houston Chronicle.
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Neely was homeless and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time. He had reportedly been resistant to his family’s attempts to bring him home. He was arrested by the two mounted officers who clipped a rope to his handcuffs and led him in public through the streets, which was criticized as a harkening to slavery-era mistreatment of enslaved Blacks.
Body camera footage showed that the officers understood the optics of what they were doing.
“This is gonna look really bad,” Officer Patrick Brosch said when his partner, Amanda Smith attached the rope to the cuffs.
At the time, Galveston police officials said there were no squad cars available to transport Neely. The city later apologized for the incident. However, the two officers did not face disciplinary action for what happened.
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Later, when Neely eventually moved in with a relative, he learned that the images of his experience were seen by millions and said he was embarrassed.
“It came back and hurt me because I did not know I was getting video recorded by the public,” Neely told the Chronicle.
The City of Galveston has not commented on the lawsuit.
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