Galveston Police Apologize After Horse-Mounted Policemen Lead Black Man by Leash

Galveston police have now changed the policy so the arrest technique will never be used again.

mounted police

Image via Getty/Tom Williams

mounted police

An image of horse-mounted policemen leading a handcuffed black man by what looks to be rope has gone viral.

This is just sickening and uncalled for.

This young black man was put on a leash while handcuffed between two mounted horses in Galveston, Texas.

This invokes painful imagery of slave catchers and runaway enslaved Africans.

— zellie (@zellieimani) August 6, 2019

On Monday, Galveston, Texas police issued a press release regarding the photo, verifying that the officers had “clipped” a “line” to the man’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 the man, 43-year-old Donald 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 police statement identified the officers only as P. Brosch and A. Smith. Hale said the department has now changed the policy so the technique will never be used again. “[We] will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” he said.

Christin Neely, Donald's sister-in-law, says 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," she added.

Adrienne Bell—a Democrat candidate running for Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives—verified with the police that the photo was real. She shared the image on Facebook, writing, in part, “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 officers were leading Donald to a mounted patrol unit that was eight blocks away from where he was arrested. He is now free on bond.

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