A Black man who was led by two white officers on horseback by a rope sued the Southeast Texas City and the Police Department for $1 million, alleging that after his arrest he experienced humiliation and terror.
According to the Metro, Donald Neely, 44, was spotted unconscious on the pavement by officers from Galveston Police Department in Texas in August last year. They later arrested him for trespassing.
At the time of his arrest, Neely, who was homeless, was handcuffed and led to a police staging area approximately eight blocks away by a rope.
On behalf of the 44-year-old, the lawsuit was filed in Galveston County district court. It alleges that "extreme and dangerous" was the way he was handled by police officers. It also states that the event impacted him physically and emotionally.
The Police Department of Galveston was also accused of negligence. In the lawsuit, it was added that the officers should have been aware that Neely would have considered being led offensively on the rope "as if he was a slave."
The lawsuit continued: "Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were."
An officer could be seen in bodycam video captured during the arrest saying a couple of times that leading the man by rope would look "bad."
Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said at the time of the incident that although the officers were not behaving maliciously, the police department would in the future refrain from using the "trained technique."
In a statement, he said:
"First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment.
"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."
Christin Neely, Neely's sister-in-law, has recently taken to social media to criticise the police department for treating him" like an animal paraded by two incompetent a**holes through the streets".
Leon Phillips, President of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told The Houston Chronicle:
"All I know is that these are two white police officers on horseback with a black man walking down the street with a rope tied to the handcuffs, and that doesn’t make sense, period. And I do understand this – if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened."