Two white police officers in Galveston, Texas, won’t face a criminal investigation after leading a black man down a city street with a rope tied to their horses, officials said.
On Aug. 3, Galveston police officers identified as P. Brosch and A. Smith, were riding horseback while leading Donald Neely, 43, down the street handcuffed and bound with rope after arresting him on criminal trespass charges. Images and video of the arrest and went viral, sparking outrage from the community.
The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office agreed last week to conduct a third-party investigation into the arrest. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office is also conducting an independent investigation.
“At the request of the Galveston Police Department, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed,” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lieutenant Craig Cummings wrote in a statement on Friday. “The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation.”
The Neely family’s lawyer said Donald’s sister, Taranette Neely, “doesn’t have a reaction to the Rangers’ decision and is awaiting the conclusion of the full investigation.”
Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III released an apology on behalf of the police department Monday, saying: “First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” the statement began. “I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest.”
Also on Monday, the Neely family held a press conference demanding the police release the officers’ body camera videos.
Donald Neely’s younger brother, Andy, said his brother is a “loving, kind person [who] wouldn’t harm a fly.”
“The way the officers treated him, it just ain’t right… They dehumanized my brother on the streets,” Andy Neely said. “Why would they do that after several encounters with him? It was just to humiliate him. No man, no women, black, brown, purple, should be embarrassed the way my brother was.”