Galveston Police indicated that the use of mounted police in the arrest of Neely was incorrect, rather than the use of the 'rope'.
People sometimes yearn for and even sing about the “good old days” but this picture taken by a nine-year-old in his parents’ car at Galveston, an island resort city in Texas, is so wrong.
When the photograph was posted online it drew mainly condemnation, with his family incensed. In a passionate and angry Facebook post, Donald Neely’s sister-in-law Christin Neely wrote:
“Imagine that you have a relative who is homeless and mentally ill … Imagine that YOU are aware that living on the streets is dangerous, unsanitary, makes you a target for crime/law enforcement and isolates you from your family but YOU CAN’T make that relative understand that despite your many efforts. Imagine searching the streets of a city for days looking for your loved one, to no avail. Have any of you ever went to breakfast, lunch and dinner at the local homeless shelters hoping you’d find your loved one having a meal with hopes to kidnap them and bring them home.
“Imagine locating your loved one, getting them in your car and they jump out of your moving vehicle to keep you from taking them from where they now call home. Just imagine for one second being 1 of his 8 children who have been fatherless for years and your father isn’t incarcerated or dead. With all of that in mind, now imagine scrolling fb and seeing said loved one being escorted to jail on foot by 2 officers on horses, hands cuffed behind his back with a rope attached. In 2019???? He was treated like an animal paraded through the streets by two incompetent a*sholes!”
“I have read some of the most hateful and insensitive comments in concern to the incident involving my BIL Donald Neely’s recent arrest by GPD. People don’t even understand the depth of mental illness and how it affects the person and their family. WE HAVE TRIED AND ARE CONTINUOUSLY TRYING TO BRING HIM HOME! Please continue to pray for my family! #justicefordonald #mentalillnessisreal #awareness.”
Terrie Cotton, the mother of Donald Neely’s child, wrote on Facebook, according to heavy.com:
“I may not speak to him daily. Hell its been years since I have. But he is still my child’s father and this has broke my heart. He is not a threat to any he is very kind hearted and would help anyone. No on deserve to b threaten in this manner. He is not a dog r slave they have went to far. I pray he is ok and the police that did this r fired.’
Adrienne Bell, a candidate for Congress in Texas, also took to Facebook to lambast the act.
“It is hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers. It is a scene that has invoked anger, disgust, and questions from the community,” she said.
“We will be watching for the Galveston Police Department’s response to their investigation of this matter and the accountability of the officers involved. Swift action is needed to ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again, and arrest procedures are fair, just, and humane.”
Galveston Police indicated that the use of mounted police in the arrest of Neely was incorrect, rather than the use of the ‘rope’.
“We became aware Monday afternoon of a post circulating about a Saturday arrest involving two mounted patrol officers and how the arrested individual was transported,” Galveston Police Department Chief Vernon L. Hale, III wrote.
“A transportation unit was not immediately available at the time of the arrest and a man was handcuffed and escorted beside two police officers on horses. While this technique of using mounted horses to transport a person during an arrest is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice 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.
“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.”
Galveston Police Department are holding a community meeting where the Chief of Police Vernon L. Hale, III will provide information about what happened and give an opportunity for the incensed community to speak about the incident.