An image of a handcuffed Black man being led through Galveston by horse-mounted white policemen has caused quite the uproar on Twitter.
On Monday, Galveston, Texas police issued a statement regarding the photo, noting that the officers had “clipped” a “line” to Donald Neely’s handcuffs after he was arrested for trespassing on Saturday, the Houston Chronicle reports. The photo was allegedly taken by a child.
Galveston Police Chief, Vernon Hale, apologized to 43-year-old Neely. “First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said. “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.”
The department has now changed the policy so the technique will never be used again, Complex reports. “[We] will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale said.
Donald’s sister-in-law has spoken out about the incident, saying he is mentally ill, homeless, and that he “gets arrested often for trespassing.”
“After calling GPD and getting no where we have contacted our family lawyer who is working to get answers as to what occurred and why,” Christin Neely added.
Adrienne Bell, a Democrat running for Congress in 2020, shared the image on Facebook, writing: “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.”
The police statement identified the officers only as P. Brosch and A. Smith, who reportedly lead him eight blocks away from where he was arrested. Neely is now free on bond.