A man is suing a Texas city and its police department after being tied up and paraded through the streets by cops on horses.
44-year-old Donald Neely was arrested over trespassing accusations in Galveston, Texas, back in August 2019. After the man, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was apprehended by the police, he was led through the streets by two mounted police officers who tied a rope to his handcuffs.
As the Houston Chronicle reported, the man had been homeless since 2016 whereas he allegedly objected to his family’s attempts to get him back home.
Following the controversial arrest, the officers involved claimed that Neely was walked down the street because a vehicle was not at their disposal at the moment.
Now, the 44-year-old has sued the Texas city and its police department for malicious prosecution, negligence, and emotional distress.
As the man’s lawyer, Julie Ketterman, insisted, the arrest was “extreme and outrageous” whereas the 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.”
According to the suit, Neely “suffered from embarrassment, humiliation and fear as he was led by rope and mounted officers down the city street.” He allegedly also suffered heat exposure and abrasions caused by handcuffs.
“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were. He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a runaway horse,” the lawsuit, which seeks $1 million in damages, reads.
In addition, the suit claims that Neely, who is now off the streets and living with his sister, was maliciously prosecuted over the criminal trespassing charge that was dismissed in court earlier this year.
As the 44-year-old explained in an interview with Houston Chronicle last year, he was left embarrassed after seeing photos of his arrest circulate the internet.
“It came back and hurt me because I did not know I was getting video recorded by the public,” Neely explained.
Following the controversial arrest last year, Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III admitted that the arresting officers “showed poor judgment” and that they have “changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique.”
“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,” the police chief said.
“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.”
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