Police in Galveston, Texas are under fire after a photo showed two mounted police officers leading a handcuffed suspect through the streets with a rope. Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III apologized to 43-year-old Donald Neely, who was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing.
“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said in a statement. “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.”
Members of the community were livid when they saw the viral photo.
“All I know is that these are two white police officers on horseback with a black man walking him down the street with a rope tied to the handcuffs, and that’s doesn’t make sense, period,” Leon Phillips, president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told the Houston Chronicle. “And I do understand this — if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.”
Hale says that going forward, his department will no longer use the technique and officers will be instructed to wait until a squad car arrives before they transport any suspects.
“My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale said.