Outrage over photo of black man led by rope down Texas street

'Looks like something straight out of the 1800s.' Police Texas apologize after mounted officers lead mentally ill man down street by a rope.

Tags: Texas
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mounted police officer (archive image)
Mounted police officer (archive image)

The police department in Galveston, Texas offered an apology Tuesday, after photos of a mentally ill black man being led down the street by a rope by two mounted police officers sparked a public outcry.

The man, 43-year-old Donald Neely, has a history of mental illness, relatives say, and had been living on the streets.

Police arrested Neely after having received a complaint from the Galveston Park Board, which said that Neely was trespassing in its offices while wearing a “strange” welding mask.

Two mounted officers arrived at the scene and took Neely into custody, handcuffing him.

Then, the officers tied Neely’s handcuffs to a road, with both officers holding the rope as they walked Neely down the street to a “staging area”.

Relatives of the arrested man said the rope looked like a leash, and said Neely had been treated “like an animal”, The Guardian reported.

Some locals also condemned the officers’ behavior, while the photographs of the incident drew criticism across the country.

The Houston branch of the NAACP told the Houston Chronicle the image of a black man being led down the street by a rope looked like something out of the 19th century.

“This is 2019, not 1819,” said branch president James Douglas.

Galveston police chief Vernon Hale confirmed the validity of the photos, and issued an apology, saying the arresting officers had demonstrated “poor judgment”.

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mr, Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment. 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.

“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.”