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.
This disgusting display of Galveston Police parading an African American man by string and cuffs isn't from the eighteenth century or early nineteenth, but yesterday in 2019!— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) August 7, 2019
An apology by the chief of police is NOT ENOUGH!
These officers need to be disciplined ASAP! 😡 pic.twitter.com/Jdmg2DdT0n
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.
Here’s the Galveston, Texas police chief....@BunBTrillOG @icecube @MrChuckD— Is This Happiness? (@Wildcat4Life2K1) August 7, 2019
Like Cube said back in 88: Don’t let be a black and a white one....cause they’ll slam ya down to the street top....black police showin out for the white cop! pic.twitter.com/FbrKG5Nydc
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.
2 days ago. This photo was taken on August 3, 2019. In Galveston, Texas. Officers "clipped a line" to the 43 year old man's handcuffs. Then lead him through the town, back cuffed, with horses. The Police Chief called it a "trained technique." https://t.co/NdZBtQG2ax— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) August 6, 2019
"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."