The police chief in Galveston, Texas is apologizing after two of his officers, who were mounted on horseback, led a handcuffed suspect by a rope through the downtown streets.
Photos of the Saturday incident went viral on social media over the weekend, causing outrage among everyone who saw it. The two officers linked the rope to handcuffs worn by 43-year-old criminal trespass suspect Donald Neely and led him around the block to a mounted patrol staging area.
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In a statement on Monday, following the public outcry for these officers to be fired, Police Chief Vernon Hale said “this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios,” such as with crowd control. However, he said he believes his officers “showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest.” He also added that his department has “immediately changed the policy” to prevent use of the technique.
The statement concluded with, “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.”
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Despite the apology from the police department, Leon Phillips, the president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, called for the two officers to be fired in an interview on Monday night.
“If it was a white man, he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” he said. “I guarantee there’s nothing in their rules that you can put a leash on a guy while you ride down the street on a horse.”
Donald Neely is currently free on bond.
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