Image of white Texas cops on horseback leading black suspect away via rope sparks outrage
Images from the arrest of a black man who was led away from the scene by mounted police who used a rope in Galveston, Texas sparked outrage during the weekend and prompted an apology from the department’s chief.
The Galveston Police Department arrested 43-year-old Donald Neely, 43, who they said was arrested Saturday on a charge of criminal trespassing.
According to the New York Times, the photo was promptly posted to social media.
Chief Vernon Hale apologized to Neely in a Facebook post on Monday night.
“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 arrest.”
Hale said his department has “immediately changed the policy” to prevent further use of the technique.
Texas officers on horses led handcuffed black man by a rope.
The police chief in Galveston said the "practice was not used correctly," considering the nature of the arrest.
Officers P. Brosch & A. Smith, arrested Donald Neely for criminal trespass on Sat.https://t.co/9350D2GXVs pic.twitter.com/mwZc70nTVg
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) August 6, 2019
The apology wasn’t received well by some in the community.
This is NOT an apology situation!
This is a HATE CRIME! a HATE CRIME that must be dealt with + treated as such accordingly to the LAW!
— Sol Flos🌊💙🌊 (@SolFlos66) August 6, 2019
Many people in the black community bemoaned the symbolism of the image, saying it’s reminiscent of slavery and the Jim Crow era, which highlighted violence against blacks by whites in the United States.
"You don't even do a dog like that." Galveston Police are responding to uproar over a photo posted to Facebook showing a man being led by officers on horses, using a rope. https://t.co/qNuXaxpBP9
— David Wheeler (@dwheeler826) August 6, 2019
Others questioned why the white officers couldn’t wait for a car to transport their suspect opposed to marching the handcuffed Neely through the streets.
Neely is free on bond. He has no listed telephone number and couldn’t be reached for comment.
I suppose calling a effin squad car to pick him up was out of the question! They knew EXACTLY WTF THEY WERE DOING: #Galveston police apologize after photo surfaces of horse-mounted officers leading handcuffed suspect https://t.co/jjOAfpGyyA via @houstonchron
— Angela C. Johnson (@Akoma0224) August 6, 2019
Some black journalists even referred to cop’s method of transport as using a “leash.”
“Of course, it was a rope connected to his handcuffs — effectively a leash,” radio host and activist Egberto Willies wrote for the Daily KOS.”Even the terrorist who killed 22 people in El Paso was escorted to the police car humanely.”
Similar sentiments were shared by Leon Phillips, the president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, according to the Times.
“If it was a white man, he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” Phillips said. “I guarantee there’s nothing in their rules that you can put a leash on a guy while you ride down the street on a horse.”
Phillips called for the two officers involved, who the Times identified as P. Brosch and A. Smith, to be fired.
Samson X Horne is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Samson at 412-320-7845, [email protected] or via Twitter .