The video, shot in the streets of Galveston, Tex., two weeks ago, shows two police officers on horseback leading 43-year-old Donald Neely, a Black man, with a rope. The video caused national outrage, condemnation and calls for the offending officers to be fired as people likened the incident to the treatment of captured slaves.
Neely has a history of both mental illness and homelessness.
But the Texas Rangers, a faction of the state’s public safety department, has ruled that the officers’ actions did not warrant a criminal investigation, according to The Washington Post.
Neely was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge on Aug. 3.
Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III has apologized – but that’s about it. He wrote in a statement on Aug. 5 that the officers, identified only by their first initials and last names, P. Brosch and A. Smith, had used “poor judgment” and caused Neely “unnecessary embarrassment.”
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Hale dug himself even further into a hole when he said that the two white officers leading Neely with a rope had “reverted to their training.”
Now, Neely’s lawyer, Melissa Morris, said she is fighting for the release of footage from the officers’ body cameras, which she believes will show the officers “knew the imagery was troubling” when they arrested Neely.
Morris also told The Post that the officer has not shown how the mounted officers were following the department’s policies, despite Hale saying that they had “reverted to their training.”
“The question then became, ‘Where is this policy?’” she said The Post. “I don’t believe there was such a policy, especially not in writing, that would have allowed for this in the first place.”
“What they did was real inhumane,” Neely’s brother, Andy Neely, told local TV station KPRC. “They treated my brother as if he was a dog.”