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    Black man who was led through Texas town by two white cops on horseback while bound with a rope sues

    Black man who was filmed being led through Texas street by two white cops on horseback while bound with a rope sues city for $1 million over ‘offensive and outrageous’ 2019 arrest

    • Donald Neely, 44, who suffers from mental illness and was homeless at the time, was arrested on criminal trespassing charges in Galveston in August 2019
    • Images and video from his arrest showed two white police officers leading him down the street handcuffed with a rope tied to their horses 
    • The images sparked public backlash and drew comparisons to the slavery era
    • In a lawsuit filed in Galveston County last week by Neely’s attorney Julie Ketterman, she called the officers’ conduct ‘extreme and outrageous’
    • Neely is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury

    A black man who was led by mounted police down a Texas street while bound with a rope last year is suing the city and its police department for $1 million, court documents have revealed.

    Donald Neely, 44, who suffers from mental illness and was homeless at the time, was arrested on criminal trespassing charges in Galveston, just outside of Houston on August 3, 2019.

    Images and video from his arrest – showing two white police officers leading him down the street handcuffed with a rope tied to their horses – sparked public outrage at the time and drew comparisons to the slavery era.

    In a lawsuit filed in Galveston County last week by Neely’s attorney Julie Ketterman, she called the officers’ conduct ‘extreme and outrageous’.

    The Houston-based attorney also argued the two officers ‘knew or should have believed that Neely – being a Black man – being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive.’

    Scroll down for video 

    Images and video from his arrest, showing two white police officers leading him down the street handcuffed with a rope tied to their horses, sparked public outrage at the time and drew comparisons to the slavery area.

    Donald Neely, 44, who suffers from mental illness and was homeless at the time, was arrested on criminal trespassing charges in Galveston, just outside of Houston on August 3, 2019.

    Neely (above) is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury

    Neely (above) is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury

    Neely was not lucid at the time of his detainment. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had lived on Galveston streets since 2016 and had repeatedly resisted his family’s efforts to bring him home, according to the Houston Chronicle.

    He has been sleeping under an awning at the rear of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees building, on 23rd St., when the two officers approached him.

    Neely had previously been accused of trespassing, and officers patrolling the downtown area had been informed of a no-trespassing order against him, the city said at the time.

    Officers arrested Neely for trespassing at the public building. Cops said that a transportation unit was not immediately available.

    The officers, who were nearing the end of their shift, then handcuffed Neely and attached a rope line to his hands. They then walked him in between their horses for around five blocks to a parking lot where they had left a horse trailer.

    Other officers arrived at the lot a short time later and transported Neely to the county jail in a patrol vehicle.

    Bodycamera footage released by the department months later revealed the two officers knew the manner of the arrest would draw criticism.

    ‘This is gonna look really bad,’ Officer Patrick Brosch said after his partner, Amanda Smith, clipped the rope to Neely’s handcuffs, before adding, ‘I’m glad you’re not embarrassed, Mr. Neely.’

    The officers, who were nearing the end of their shift, then handcuffed Neely and attached a rope line to his hands. They then walked him in between their horses for around five blocks to a parking lot where they had left a horse trailer

    The officers, who were nearing the end of their shift, then handcuffed Neely and attached a rope line to his hands. They then walked him in between their horses for around five blocks to a parking lot where they had left a horse trailer 

    An officer appears to remove a hood from Neely. Other officers arrived sometime later and transported Neely to the county jail in a patrol vehicle.

    An officer appears to remove a hood from Neely. Other officers arrived sometime later and transported Neely to the county jail in a patrol vehicle.

    Neely was not lucid at the time of his detainment. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had lived on Galveston streets since 2016 and had repeatedly resisted his family’s efforts to bring him home

    Neely was not lucid at the time of his detainment. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had lived on Galveston streets since 2016 and had repeatedly resisted his family’s efforts to bring him home

    The lawsuit states that Neely suffered handcuff abrasions, heat exposure, and ‘suffered from embarrassment, humiliation and fear as he was led by rope and mounted officers down the city street.’

    ‘Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,’ the lawsuit states. ‘He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a runaway horse.’

    The lawsuit is also alleging malicious prosecution over Neely’s criminal trespass charge, which was ultimately dismissed in court in March.

    Neely had previously been accused of trespassing, and officers patrolling downtown had been informed of a no-trespassing order against him, according to the city

    Neely had previously been accused of trespassing, and officers patrolling downtown had been informed of a no-trespassing order against him, according to the city

    Neely is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury.

    A spokesperson for the City of Galveston declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

    A status conference is currently scheduled for January 7, 2021.

    Neely, who has since moved off of the streets and in with his sister, told the Chronicle last year that he ‘felt embarrassed’ after learning the images of his arrest had been seen by millions.

    ‘It came back and hurt me because I did not know I was getting video recorded by the public,’ he told the outlet.

    Ketterman added: ‘I don’t care what’s in the books — for anybody to think for a second that would be OK, not just for a black man but for any human being, mentally ill or otherwise, is just absurd to me.

    ‘The black eye that I think it put — not just on Galveston, but Texas now — infuriates me,’ she added.

    Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology in the aftermath of the arrest on behalf of the department, saying the officers ‘showed poor judgment.’

    Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology in the aftermath of the arrest on behalf of the department, saying the officers ‘showed poor judgment.’

    Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology in the aftermath of the arrest on behalf of the department, saying the officers ‘showed poor judgment.’

    ‘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,’ Hale wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page.

    ‘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,’ Hale said.

    Due to the ‘negative perception’ Hale said cops would ‘cease the use of this technique.’

    The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Public Safety later conducted an investigation into the arrest, but determined the incident didn’t warrant a criminal investigation as no law had been broken.

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