The Slatest

Texas Cops on Horseback Who Led Black Man by Rope Won’t Face Criminal Probe

Police on horseback salute as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush heads to the Union Pacific train facility on December 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
Police on horseback salute as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush heads to the Union Pacific train facility on December 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
Pool/Getty Images

The two white police officers in Galveston, Texas who sparked outrage after they led a handcuffed black man down a city street by a rope won’t face a criminal investigation. The officers, who have been identified as P. Brosch and A. Smith, were photographed on Aug. 3 while they were riding on horseback and leading 43-year-old Donald Neely down the street by a rope that was clipped to his handcuffs after he was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge.

The photo quickly went viral as many couldn’t believe the scene was taking place in a U.S. city. “When I looked at the picture, I saw utter disrespect for another human being. The first thing that came to my mind was this is 2019 and not 1819,” said Houston NAACP president James Douglas. Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale apologized, saying that the offices caused Neely “unnecessary embarrassment.” But taking a suspect on horseback was “a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios,” although the officers “showed poor judgement in this instance.”

“At the request of the Galveston Police Department, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed,” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lieutenant Craig Cummings wrote in a statement on Friday. “The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation.” The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office is conducting its own independent investigation.

Neely’s family is demanding the police release body camera footage from the arrest. “The way the officers treated him, it just ain’t right… They dehumanized my brother on the streets,” Andy Neely said. “Why would they do that after several encounters with him? It was just to humiliate him. No man, no women, black, brown, purple, should be embarrassed the way my brother was.”