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Black Man Arrested By Horseback Police With Rope Files $1 Million Lawsuit

A black man who was arrested by Texas horseback police officers and led with a rope and led through the street filed a lawsuit against the department and the city.

Donald Neely filed the $1 million lawsuit on Wednesday arguing that he underwent emotional distress as a result of police officers’ negligence, according to CBS affiliate KHOU-TV. Photos and video of police officers guiding Neely by rope through the streets of Galveston, Texas in August 2019 sparked outrage after being shared widely on social media.

“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit said, according to CBS News.


Neely had been arrested by two police officers for criminal trespassing outside a Galveston city building, according to KHOU. The charges filed against him were later dismissed in court.

The Galveston Police Department released bodycam footage of the incident in October 2019, ABC affiliate KTRK-TV reported. The footage shows officers handcuffing Neely, tying him to their horses and guiding him through the street.

“This is going to look really bad,” one of the officers said during the incident, according to KTRK.

Galveston police chief Vernon Hale, a black man, defended the officers saying that they had been trained to make arrests in that manner, according to KHOU. But, Hale also commissioned the Texas Rangers and Galveston County Sheriff’s Office to conduct independent reviews of the arrest.

“This photo conjured up strong emotions and can be seen as offensive or shocking, especially given the historical connotation,” Hale said.

He added: “The Galveston Police Department strives to serve with respect and integrity through continuous improvement.”

The Texas Rangers concluded its investigation and conferred with Galveston’s district attorney who decided “there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation,” according to Beaumont Enterprise.

The Galveston Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday. The department doesn’t comment on active litigation, a spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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