Black man bound by rope and led by police on horses sues Texas city for $1m
In a video that went viral in 2019, an official was heard admit "this is going to look really bad" (screenshot)
A black man led by two white police officers on a rope down a Texas street is suing Galveston City and its law enforcement agency on $ 1 million.
In a video that was widely shared on social media last year, 44-year-old Donald Neely was seen walking handcuffed with rope while the two officers rode on horseback. The video caused a lot of online backlash at the time. Viewers compared it to historical images of black slaves walking in chains.
Neely, who was homeless and suffered from mental illness, was sleeping on the sidewalk when he was arrested on a crime. The two white officers handcuffed him and led him down several blocks with the rope.
Following the backlash, police apologized and claimed it was a vehicle-less transport drill.
Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III said that while officers "displayed poor judgment" and should have waited for a transport unit, "they had no malicious intent". The department also said they would end this transportation technique.
In body camera footage released a few months after the first images of the incident went viral, an officer can be heard say how Neely walking with a rope "would look really bad".
In Neely's lawsuit filed in Galveston County Court, he alleged that the officers' behavior was "extreme and outrageous", which both physically and emotionally hurt Neely. The lawsuit also states that officers should have known that Neely, being a black, would find her actions offensive.
"Neely felt as if he had once been exhibited as a slave," said the lawsuit.
A Texas Rangers investigation into the backlash on social media gave officials a clean shit on the matter. Neely's criminal charges were also dismissed in court. The lawsuit now also alleges malicious prosecution related to the indictment.
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