A bl-ack man who was led by mo-unted police down a Texas street while bound with a rope last year is su!ng the city and its police department for $1 million, court documents have revealed.
Donald Neely, 44, who undergoing from me-ntal il-lness and was homele-ss at the time, was ar*ested on cr!minal tr-espassing ch*rges in Galveston, just outside of Houston on August 3, 2019.
Images and video from his arr-est – showing two white police officers leading him down the street handcu*fed with a rope tied to their horses – spa-rked public outr-age at the time and drew comparisons to the sl*very era.
In a lawsu!t filed in Galveston County last week by Neely’s attorney Julie Ketterman, she called the officers’ conduct ‘extreme and outr-ageous’.
The Houston-based attorney also ar*ued the two officers knew or should have believed that Neely – being a Bl-ack man – being led with a rope and by mo-unted officers down a city street as though he was a sl*ve, would find this contact offe-nsive.’Neely was not luc!d at the time of his deta!nment. He had been verified with par-anoid sch!zophrenia, had lived on Galveston streets since 2016, and had repeatedly res!sted his family’s efforts to bring him home, according to the Houston Chronicle.
He has been sleeping under an awning at the rear of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees building, on 23rd St.,when the two officers approached him. Neely had previously been acc*sed of tr-espassing, and officers patrolling the downtown area had been informed of a no-tr-espassing order aga!nst him, the city said at the time. Officers ar*ested Neely for tr-espassing at the public building. Cops said that a transportation unit was not immediately available.
The officers, who were nearing the end of their shift, then handcu*fed Neely and attached a rope line to his hands.They then walked him in between their horses for around five blocks to a parking lot where they had left a horse trailer. Other officers arrived at the lot a short time later and transported Neely to the county j*il in a patrol vehicle. Body camera footage released by the department months later revealed the two officers knew the manner of the ar*est would draw cr!ticism.
‘This is gonna look really bad,’ Officer Patrick Brosch said after his partner, Amanda Smith, clipped the rope to Neely’s handc*ffs, before adding, ‘I’m glad you’re not embarra*sed, Mr. Neely.’The la*suit states that Neely underwent handc*ff ab*asions, heat exposure, and ‘underwent from embarra*sment, hum!liation, and fe-ar as he was led by rope and mo-unted officers down the city street.’‘Neely felt as though he was put on display as sl*ves once were,’ the la*suit states. ‘He undergone from fe-ar because one of the horses was acting dan*erously, putting Neely in fe-ar of being d*ug down the street by a runaway horse.’
The la*suit is also so-calling mal!cious pros-ecution over Neely’s cr*minal tre-spass ch*rge, which was ultimately di-smissed in court in March. Neely is seeking $1 million in da*ages for emotional di*tress, ma-licious pro*ecution, and negl!gence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury. A spokesperson for the City of Galveston declined to comment citing the pending lit!gation. A status conference is currently scheduled for January 7, 2021.
Neely, who has since moved off of the streets and in with his sister, told the Chronicle last year that he ‘felt embarra*sed’ after learning the images of his a*rest had been seen by millions.‘It came back and hu-rt me because I did not know I was getting video recorded by the public,’ he told the outlet. Ketterman added: ‘I don’t care what’s in the books — for anybody to think for a second that would be OK, not just for a bl-ack man but for any human being, men-tally il-l or otherwise, is just abs-urd to me.
‘The bl-ack eye that I think it put — not just on Galveston, but Texas now — infur!ates me,’ she added. Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology in the aftermath of the ar*est on behalf of the department, saying the officers ‘showed poor judgment.’’While this technique of using mo-unted horses to transport a person during an ar*est is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice was not the correct use for this instance,’ Hale wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page.
‘My officers did not have any mal!cious intent at the time of the ar*est, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mo-unted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,’ Hale said. Due to the ‘neg-ative perception,’ Hale said cops would ‘cease the use of this technique.’The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Public Safety later conducted an investigation into the ar*est but determined the incident didn’t wa*rant a cr*minal investigation as no law had been br-oken.
This Article First Published On DAILYMAIL