Donald Neely has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Galveston Police Department. His lawsuit comes more than a year after police riding horses dragged him through the southeastern Texas city by a rope. The lawsuit called the officer's actions "extreme and outrageous."
“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit states.
At the time of the incident, Neely was homeless and sleeping on the sidewalk. While doing so, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing. After leading Neely around the block, one officer was caught on body camera footage saying that their actions would look "bad." After photos of the arrest went viral, Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale said that the officers used poor judgment during the arrest.
“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 arrest," Hale stated.
"My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest."
Around the country, photos of the matter angered and upset many. Congressional candidate Adrienne Bell of Texas deeply disturbed by the incident and called for local officials to take action.
"We will be watching for the Galveston Police Department’s response to their investigation of this matter and the accountability of the officers involved. Swift action is needed to ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again, and arrest procedures are fair, just, and humane," she wrote on Facebook.
Since the incident, the "trained technique" has since been removed from the department's training. Also, the charges filed against Neely were dismissed. Furthermore, Texas Rangers found that the Galveston officers did not break the law. Internally, it is unclear if any of the officers involved faced any disciplinary action. City officials have yet comment on Neely's lawsuit.
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