Police Apologise After Leading Black Man Behind Horses With A Rope

by : Julia Banim on : 06 Aug 2019 17:07
Galveston Texas Police Donald NeelyGalveston Texas Police Donald NeelyAdrienne Bell/Facebook

Galveston Police Department in Texas have apologised after a shocking picture surfaced of a handcuffed black man being led through the streets by officers on horseback.

Donald Neely, 43, had been arrested for criminal trespassing close to a private property in Galveston, after having been warned several times not to trespass at this location.

However, instead of waiting for a transportation vehicle, two white officers – named as Officer P. Brosch and Officer A. Smith – tied a rope to Mr. Neely’s handcuffs and forced him walk to behind their horses for approximately eight blocks to where the mounted patrol unit was situated.


Galveston Police Department have since released a public statement confirming a ‘line’ was ‘clipped’ to Mr. Neely’s handcuffs before he was led through the streets by mounted officers.

The department has said this method is ‘considered a best practice in certain scenarios’ (e.g. crowd control), however clarified it was used incorrectly in this instance.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale, III has said the officers had shown ‘poor judgement’, with the full statement reading:


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.

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.

Police Chief Hale has now put a stop to the practice with immediate effect. However, it remains unclear what sort of disciplinary action – if any – the two officers involved in the incident will face.

The full statement reads:

We became aware today of an arrest Saturday involving two mounted patrol officers and how the arrested individual was…

Posted by Galveston Police Department on Monday, August 5, 2019


The image has provoked disgust and outrage in Galveston and beyond, with many people repulsed that such a picture could even exist in the year 2019.

Adrienne Bell, a candidate for Texas’ 14th Congressional District in the US House, has written a statement calling for ‘swift action’:

We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston, that the photograph taken in Galveston is real. 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.

We will be watching for the Galveston Police Department’s response to their investigation of this matter and the accountability of the officers involved. Swift action is needed to ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again, and arrest procedures are fair, just, and humane.


Leon Phillips, president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told the Houston Chronicle:

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,

And I do understand this — if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.

We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston, that the photograph taken in Galveston is real. It is hard…

Posted by Adrienne Bell on Monday, August 5, 2019

Mr. Neely has since been released from jail on bond.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Donald Neely, Galveston Police Department, Texas


Houston Chronicle and 2 others
  1. Houston Chronicle

    Galveston police apologize after photo surfaces of horse-mounted officers leading handcuffed suspect

  2. Adrienne Bell/Facebook

    Adrienne Bell/Facebook

  3. Galveston Police Department/Facebook

    Press Release