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Police release body cam footage of officers on horseback who tied up and led a mentally ill black man down the road: 'This is gonna look really bad'


Apparently the officers realized how this action would be taken — but did it anyway

Image source: KHOU-TV video screenshot

Police have released body cam footage from the arrest of Donald Neely, a mentally ill black man.

Two officers on horseback arrested Neely, who was once homeless, in August on charges of criminal trespass. The officers handcuffed him, and tethered him to a rope. They led him through the streets of Galveston, Texas.

National outcry emerged following Neely's arrest, but the officers were not disciplined.

What's a brief history?

Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale issued a statement on the arrest in August, pointing out that the horseback arrest is a "trained technique" and "best practice in some scenarios," but admitted that the officers in this particular case "showed poor judgment." The practice has been discontinued.

"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 at the time.

What are the details of the video?

The body cam footage, which runs approximately 30 minutes, shows Neely's arrest.

One of the officers can be heard admitting that the visual of leading a restrained black man down the street by officers on horses might not be the best image.

"This is gonna look really bad," one officer can be heard saying.

Officers can also be heard telling Neely to stay close.

"Stay next to me or I'm going to drag you," one officer can be heard saying. An officer can also be heard adding, "I want less eyesight. This is going to look so bad."

What is being said about the video?

“We have not held back any part of that video," said Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell told KHOU-TV . “It's there start to finish for everyone to draw their own conclusions."

He added, "It's never a good situation when these things occur. The best we can do is be honest and up front and release everything and trust in the system that it's going to get handles appropriately."

You can read the full statement from the City of Galveston on Neely's arrest below and watch the body cam footage in its entirety.

The City of Galveston and the Galveston Police Department have received the administrative review of the August 3rd arrest of Donald Neely conducted by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office. The Galveston Police Chief will now review the report, and decide whether any further action is appropriate and consistent with the civil service rules under which the Department operates.

The City of Galveston promised to release the body camera videos worn by Officer Brosch and Officer Smith to the public immediately after we received the administrative review from the Galveston County Sheriff's Department.
These videos are being released in their entirety; however, there is no audio during the first two minutes of the body camera videos as a result of the configuration of the body camera equipment. Once an officer activates the camera, the previous two minutes are captured on video. The camera is not constantly recording and storing audio due to storage limitations.

“Galveston voters elected to have Civil Service rules for their public safety officers. Due to Civil Service rules, any discipline would be at the sole discretion of Chief Hale. The City supports the chief in any actions he deems to be appropriate; however, if the investigation identifies deficiencies in department policies or practices those will be addressed directly with the Chief," said City Manager Brian Maxwell.

“I appreciate the efforts of Sheriff Henry Trochesset and thank the Galveston County Sheriff's Office for taking the time to perform a thorough, independent review of the arrest. I am studying the report now and will use its findings to make decisions in the near future about the next steps for the department," Hale said.
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