Texas police chief apologizes after cops on horseback lead black suspect by rope .
Texas officers "clipped" a line to the handcuffs of suspect Donald Neely.Facebook
A police chief in Texas is apologizing after two cops on horseback were caught on camera leading a black suspect by a rope through city streets, acknowledging the officers showed “poor judgment.”
Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said the officers “clipped” a line to the handcuffs of suspect Donald Neely, 43, as he was being led to a Mounted Patrol Unit staging area after he was arrested for criminal trespassing on Saturday.
“First and foremost, I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said in a statement late Monday. “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.”
The officers – identified by department officials as P. Brosch and A. Smith – did not have “any malicious intent” with the practice, but the department has immediately stopped the use of the technique moving forward, Hale said.
The department said it recognized the “negative perception” surrounding the photo, which showed a clear lack of respect toward people of color, the president of Houston’s NAACP chapter told the Houston Chronicle.
“This is 2019 and not 1819,” James Douglas wrote the newspaper in an email. “I am happy to know that Chief Vernon issued an apology and indicated that the act showed poor judgment, but it also shows poor training.”
The president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, Leon Phillips, said he thinks the officers should be disciplined for the practice, which had been previously used for crowd control purposes.
“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 doesn’t make sense, period,” Phillips told the newspaper. “And I do understand this – if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.”
Another woman who was visiting Galveston from Harris County said she was shocked by what she saw.
“You don’t even do a dog like that,” Sherri Kelly, of Spring, told KTRK. “I don’t care. That’s inhumane.”