Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

Black man sues police after being ‘led down street like a slave’ by mounted cop

A man who was paraded down a street on the end of a rope by mounted police is suing the city of Galveston, Texas and its police department for $1 million, court documents show.

Donald Neely, who is black, was led ‘like a slave’ down city streets by two mounted officers in August last year after he had been arrested on a charge of criminal trespass.

Now, in papers filed this week, his lawyers have described the two officers’ actions as "extreme and outrageous,” adding that Mr Neely suffered from “handcuff abrasions, suffered from the heat, and suffered from embarrassment, humiliation and fear as he was led by rope and mounted officers down the city street.”

The papers state that Mr Neely "being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive."

At the time the arresting officers were aware of how bad their action might look. Police body camera footage reveals one of them saying "This is going to look so bad. I'm glad you're not embarrassed, Mr. Neely.”

A subsequent inquiry by the Texas Rangers concluded that Mr Neely had done “nothing that warranted a criminal investigation.” The criminal trespass charge was later dismissed in court.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III has issued an official apology, acknowledging that the officers "showed poor judgment" in the arrest.

The department also changed its policy on the use of mounted police, saying it would abandon the use of mounted horses to transport a person under arrest.

A city spokesperson declined to comment on this specific matter, stating that the city does not comment on pending litigation.

Mr Neely is demanding a trial by jury, according to court records, and status conference is currently scheduled for Jan. 7, 2021.

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