GALVESTON, TX. – Several were outraged after photos surfaced on social media showing two Galveston, Texas police officers on horseback escorting a suspect earlier this month.
The two officers arrested Donald Neely, 43, on Saturday, August 3, 2019, for trespassing after several warnings, authorities said. The two police officers on horseback decided to transport him back by tying a rope to his handcuffs and making him walk several blocks. The community had mixed feelings about the arrest, the majority outraged. “When civil rights are violated, when the images shown bring us back to people that were shackled down, when mentally ill folks are disrespected, it is time to lay all those cards down,” said Kimberly Cunningham, on a Facebook Post. “What continued is what is allowed. No person should be walked on a lead line period.”
Galveston Police officials said that a transportation unit was not immediately available, so the officers decided to transport him in the manner they did. Ryan Polizotto responded to those who were against the police officer’s conduct, “So now walking is racist? Really? Were they dragging him down the road? No. What if the cops were black and the criminal was white? You never would have heard about it,” said Ryan Polizotto.
The Police Chief said that they will cease the use of the technique used to transport the suspect. Authorities said body cameras were activated during transport. “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,” Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III said in a written statement. “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.”
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