*The mentally ill Black man in Texas whose arrest sparked national outrage after white officers mounted on horses led him by rope across town to the jailhouse, is now suing the city of Galveston and its police department for $1 million.
Donald Neely, 44, was homeless at the time when he was arrested for trespassing at the Park Board of Galveston on Aug. 3, 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Galveston police previously released bodycam video from the two horse-mounted white officers who led Neely down the street by a rope with his hands cuffed behind him (see clip below).
“This is going to look really bad!” Officer Patrick Brosch can be heard telling Officer Amanda Smith in the footage. The officers claim there were no police vehicles in the area at the time to properly transport Neely to the precinct.
“We’ve just gotta do what we’ve gotta do,” Brosch can be heard telling Neely.
After an image of Neely being escorted down the street by the two officers went viral, Galveston Police Chief, Vernon Hale, issued the following statement: “First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” he 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 said it changed the policy so the technique will never be used again, Complex reported. “[We] will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale added
Donald’s sister-in-law also addressed the incident, saying he is mentally ill, homeless, and that he “gets arrested often for trespassing.”
Many noted across social media that images of the mounted white officers leading Neely using a rope was reminiscent of pictures showing slaves in chains.
The lawsuit filed in Galveston County court last week argues the officers “knew or should have believed that Neely — being a Black man — being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive.”
Neely is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury, per Fox News.
“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit states, according to KPRC. “He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a run-away horse.”