Galveston Police Chief Defends White Officers Seen Walking Black Man By Rope On Horseback

Galveston Police Chief Defends White Officers Seen Walking Black Man By Rope On Horseback

Police Chief Vernon Hale defended his officers, asking the community to 'look at the totality of the circumstances' after his department faced harsh criticism.

Outrage followed the news of two white officers from the Galveston Police Department on horseback as they lead a handcuffed black man with a rope. But the officers leading 43-year-old Donald Neely in such a condition are likely not going to be charged for their actions. 



 

Police Chief Vernon Hale defended his officers, asking the community to 'look at the totality of the circumstances' after his department faced harsh criticism. During a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Chief Hale clarified that his officers were not acting maliciously for detaining the black man in that manner. The department confirmed that although it appeared like Neely was being led by a rope, the 43-year-old was handcuffed and the rope was attached to the cuffs. It was also revealed that Neely is homeless and mentally-ill.



 

The incident gained notoriety when a video of the two officers on horseback, were taped walking Neely and was subsequently released online. Many viewers pointed out that in the clip, it looked like the officers were taking a bag off the man's head. However, the department later clarified that Neely was in fact wearing a welding mask when he was stopped and the policemen took it off from him. 



 

"I know what the pictures show. I get it," said Chief Hale. "But we have to look at the totality of the circumstances. I also know what I have in these officers, in their hearts. I have to learn from it. My agency needs to learn from it. And I commit to you that we will do better," Click 2 Houston reported. Hale also pointed out one of the officers in question's good deeds, saying: "He was handing out blankets in the wintertime to homeless. That's what's in his heart."



 

As per reports, neither of the officers involved in the incident face any disciplinary action. The department also confirmed that they were also wearing body cameras at the time of Neely's detainment. 



 

The Chief's explanation did not quell the criticism that continued to pour over the officers' actions. Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney, flew in from Florida to Texas in support of Nelly and his family. Crump called for the immediate firing of the officers and said: "Those officers took advantage of a mentally ill black man. Do you have the courage to do what is right, not just with words, but actions? It was like they dragged our entire community down the road. We have to send the message that we won't stand for this in America."

Recommended for you