The Galveston Police Department in Galveston, Texas, is attempting to apologize after a disturbing photo surfaced showing two of its mounted officers, both of whom are white, leading a Black man, 43-year-old Donald Neely, with his hands cuffed behind his back by a leash or a length of rope.
Adrienne Bell, who is running for Congress in Texas’ 14th District, posted the image on Monday evening, noting: “We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston that the photograph taken in Galveston is real.
“It is hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers. It is a scene that has invoked anger, disgust, and questions from the community,” Bell added. “We will be watching for the Galveston Police Department’s response to their investigation of this matter and the accountability of the officers involved. Swift action is needed to ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again, and arrest procedures are fair, just, and humane.”
According to ABC13, the man in the photo, Neely was arrested on Saturday after being accused of criminal trespass.
Neely’s sister, who was upset when she saw the photo, told the news station that her brother battles with mental illness and is homeless.
The police department said that Neely was handcuffed and the rope they used was clipped to the handcuffs. The officers involved were identified in a press release as Officers P. Brosch and A. Smith. The body cameras of both the officers involved were activated, according to the release.
“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Police Chief Vernon L. Hale, III said in the press release. “Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement [sic] in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of 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,” Hale added.
Nonetheless, according to ABC13, the officers are not currently facing any disciplinary action for using the dehumanizing technique on Neely.
People commented under Bell’s post and the police department’s post, as well as on other social media platforms in outrage.
“Texas was one of the last states to release its slaves From chattel slavery…doesn’t surprise me one bit,” one commenter wrote under the department’s post.
“How are these police officers ALLOWED to get away with this?” another commenter asked under Bell’s post.