Reminiscent of Runaway Slaves
(TX) – In 2019, the Galveston Police Department made national news after images of the arrest of a Black man went viral. 44-year old Donald Neely was arrested by Galveston police officers for criminal trespass. The officers, who were on horseback, didn’t call for a unit to come pick up Mr. Neely. Instead, they placed Mr. Neely’s hands behind his back, handcuffed him, then tied a rope to the handcuffs and led Mr. Neely through the streets to the police staging area.
The image of a Black man being led by a rope by officers on horseback was reminiscent of the way runaway slaves were treated during our slavery era. To see that happening now, shocked the nation.
Mr. Neely, who suffers from bipolar disorder and has gone through periods of homelessness, has sued the City of Galveston and the Galveston Police Department for the humiliation and emotional distress he was subjected to during this arrest.
Police Misconduct Puts Agency on the Defensive
The Galveston Police Department immediately apologized for the treatment of Neely, saying “the officers showed “poor judgment” and ‘could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest.'” Yet, they also say that the officers used an approved technique, which has since been discontinued. And the Galveston Police Department pushed back against calling it a rope, saying it was a “line” which is ridiculous semantics. It’s a damn rope.
Officer on Horseback Threatens to Drag Black Man
Now that we have video and audio of the incident we can see that at least one of the officers, the male, is very uncomfortable with what they are doing to Mr. Neely and is aware of how bad it will look. It’s unknown whether he is the junior officer or not. The female officer has no qualms about the situation. She is the one holding the rope and even goes so far as to state her willingness to resort to police brutality by threatening to drag Mr. Neely if he doesn’t keep up. Per the below video, “We’re walking. Let’s go. Stand next to me because I’m going to drag you if not.”
Quite honestly, this lawsuit sounds like a slam dunk for Mr. Neely and rightly so.