Who's Donald Neely? Black man sues Texas city for $1M after cops tie him with rope and parade him through streets
Texas man, Donald Neely, is now seeking $1M for emotional distress, malicious prosecution and negligence in a lawsuit against Galveston Police Department
A Black Texas man whose arrest left the country outraged is now suing the city of Galveston and its police department for $1M. The man was seen bound with a rope while White police officers led him down a Texas street mounted on horses. Donald Neely, 44, who suffers from mental illness was homeless at the time when he was arrested for criminal trespassing at the Park Board of Galveston on August 3 in 2019, which was ultimately dismissed in court, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Two officers "clipped" a rope to his handcuffs and walked him down the streets to a mounted patrol staging area, the Galveston Police Department had said in a statement just after his arrest. Footage and photographs of the incident went viral and sparked nationwide protests, with several accusing the officers of being racist.
The pictures that were shared online showed two White officers leading Neely using a rope tied to his handcuffs. Last week, Houston-based attorney Julie Ketterman filed a lawsuit in the Galveston County court which states that the two officers "knew or should have believed that Neely — being a Black man — being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive".
Neely is now seeking $1M in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution and negligence. It has also been reported that he is demanding a trial by jury. As per the KPRC, the lawsuit states, "Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were." It also stated, "Neely suffered from handcuff abrasions, suffered from the heat, and suffered from embarrassment, humiliation and fear as he was led by rope and mounted officers down the city street." It added, "He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a run-away horse." Post the arrest, Galveston Police Chief Vernon L Hale lll issued an apology where he said that the officers involved had "showed poor judgment" and should have instead waited for a transport unit.
Hale also said that they "did not have any malicious intent" and the department changed its policy of using mounted horses to transport people placed under arrest in most scenarios.
We had previously reported that the authorities had released 36 minutes of footage from both the officers' cameras to explain how events unfolded after facing a huge backlash. In the video footage, officers Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith are seen tying a rope around Neely's handcuffs after restraining him. They subsequently order him to walk alongside their horses as they make their way to the police station.
Smith is heard suggesting they should walk him to the station house, to which Brosch says, "We've just gotta do what we've gotta do." The officers had also seemingly realized that their decision could backfire on them with Brosch saying, "This is going to look really bad."
Many social media users were left outraged at the incident and took to commenting on the same. One such user shared, "Treating him like a human being respecting his dignity and simply calling a police car to pick him up. This ain’t game of thrones no need to humiliate the man. Hope this gives you some clarity." Another added, "This is awful. And the so-called letter of apology doesn’t even mention the rope. I hope the family wins the lawsuit so this man can get the help he needs. If this treatment was policy, the department should be held accountable."
Treating him like a human being respecting his dignity and simply calling a police car to pick him up. This ain’t game of thrones no need to humiliate the man. Hope this gives you some clarity.— Arnold (@_heyarnold94) October 10, 2020
This is awful. And the so-called letter of apology doesn’t even mention the rope. I hope the family wins the lawsuit so this man can get the help he needs. If this treatment was policy, the department should be held accountable.— Anne Dolina 🇨🇦 (@primroseannie) October 11, 2020