Galveston cops who led mentally-ill black man by rope while on horseback will not be criminally charged
Galveston Police officers Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith had attracted the wrath of citizens for leading 43-year-old Donald Neely with a rope as they rode on horseback
GALVESTON, TEXAS: Two Texas police officers who were seen leading a mentally-ill black man by rope after his arrest will not be charged with any crimes.
We previously reported how Galveston Police officers Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith had attracted the wrath of citizens and netizens alike after a commuter took a video of them taking 43-year-old Donald Neely from 306 22nd St to the Mounted Patrol Unit on 21st and Market by leading him with a rope as they rode on horseback.
The Galveston Police quickly apologized for the incident but said that while it may have appeared that Neely's wrists were tied with a rope, he was handcuffed. They said that the rope seen in the pictures were attached to these cuffs.
Authorities said they were familiar with Neely as he had been apprehended for trespassing in the area previously as well, and that the officers had given him multiple warnings before using the rope to walk him.
Those who watched the video also said they believed a bag had been removed from Neely's head. But police said the 43-year-old had been wearing a welding mask when he was stopped, and that the officer had removed it and carried it.
Neely's sister-in-law, Christin, said on Facebook that he was a "homeless and mentally ill" father of eight children.
His family later clarified to ABC that the 43-year-old had been diagnosed with bipolar disease and schizophrenia and had been living on the streets for several years.
Despite the controversy surrounding the incident, the Texas Rangers, who were called in to independently investigate the incident, said they found "nothing that warranted a criminal investigation."
"At the request of the Galveston Police Department, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed," said Lieutenant Craig Cummins in a statement provided to ABC. "The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation."
The family's lawyer told ABC that his sister, Taranette Neely, "doesn't have a reaction to the Rangers' decision' and is awaiting the conclusion of the county sheriff's investigation."
The Galveston County Sheriff's Office is conducting a separate investigation into the incident. Footage from the body cameras worn by the officers will be released pending the outcome of that investigation.
Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III had previously explained that the incident was a result of the unavailability of other units of transportation at the time but admitted it could still have been avoided.
"While this technique of using mounted horses to transport a person during an arrest is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice was not the correct use for this instance," he wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
"My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods," he continued, adding that his officers would "cease the use of this technique" because of the "negative perception."