Newly released bodycam video shows that one of the Galveston, Texas police officers who led a mentally ill Black man by rope in August, knew the act looked “really bad.”
The footage was publicly released on Wednesday, nearly two months after the moment went viral on social media. In the video, you can hear the two arresting officers interact with Donald Neely, whom they arrested for trespassing. The department says the authorities followed procedures, but at least one of the officers was aware that the optics were problematic.
“This is going to look really bad,” Patrick Brosch says to his patrol partner Amanda Smith more than once.
Smith was seemingly more comfortable with the scene. She says at a point while leading Neely with the rope, “stay next to me, because I’m gonna drag you if not.”
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Reuters reports that Brosch and Smith have been placed on “modified duty” as the Galveston Police chief reviews the incident report submitted by the county sheriff this week. The two were previously cleared of any criminal charges, though the department issued an apology and admitted that the officers exercised “poor judgment.”
“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Police Chief Vernon Hale said in a statement in August. “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.”
He doubled-down on that statement by telling TIME, “That is a total disrespect for people of color. It doesn’t matter if its policy or not.” He continued, “This [was in response to] a misdemeanor trespass and the man required a lot more respect than what was shown by the police officers. This is not 1819, this is 2019.”
Outcry stemming from the incident led to policy changes within the department and a full review of techniques being implemented within the police force. As reported by Reuters, Hale will decide if disciplinary action will be taken against Brosch and Smith.