GALVESTON, Texas – A photo showing two mounted Galveston police officers using a rope to escort a handcuffed man down a street in Galveston is causing outrage on social media.
The handcuffed man has been identified as 43-year-old Donald Neely. His family attorney says he is mentally ill and homeless, KPRC reported.
The father of eight hasn’t seen his family in years, according to KPRC, and when photos of Neely surfaced online, his sister immediately went to find him in Galveston.
The practice of escorting people while on horseback is a technique the Galveston Police Department admits to using, although the department acknowledged this was not the correct use for this instance.
“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,” said Chief Vernon L. Hale, III.
GPD said the technique is considered a best practice during crowd control scenarios.
President of Houston’s NAACP chapter, James Douglas, told the Houston Chronicle that the photo showed a lack of respect for people of color saying, in part, “this is 2019 and not 1819.”
“We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique. The Police Chief has taken immediate action to suspend this technique of transportation during arrests,” GPD said in a news release.
The mounted officers were identified as Officer P. Brosch and Officer A. Smith.