VIDEO: Police Chief Apologizes After Video Of Mounted Arrest Goes Viral

Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale publicly apologized to the prisoner but said officers used an approved tactic.

Galveston, TX – The chief of the Galveston Police Department apologized to an outraged community for his officers on horseback walking a handcuffed man behind them with a rope but said that the officers were following department policy at the time (video below).

Pictures of 43-year-old Donald Neely, who had been arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing, being led by a blue rope down the middle of the street on Saturday quickly went viral, The Washington Post reported.

A video posted online later showed police removing something that looked like a bag from Neely’s head, but police said the item was the suspect’s welding mask.

Police said Neely was arrested after he showed up at an office building located at 306 22nd Street where he had been warned not to trespass on several prior occasions, The Washington Post reported.

There was no transport unit available after officers on horseback took Neely into custody, so they clipped a rope to his handcuffs and walked him to the Mounted Unit staging area that had been set up a few blocks away, the [Houston Chronicle](https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Galveston-police-apologize-for-photo-of-14282778.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium%29&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral) reported.

Neely has since been released on bond.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale publicly apologized to Neely and said he thought his officers could have used better judgement in how they handled his arrest.

"First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment," Chief Hale said in a statement. “Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest."

An explanation posted to the Galveston Police Department’s official Facebook page better explained why the officers might have chosen to use those tactics.

The post explained that the technique of using mounted horses to transport a person during an arrest is considered a best practice during crowd control but was not ideal under normal circumstances.

Chief Hale said he had already suspended use of that technique while he worked to change his department’s policy.

“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest,” the 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.”

An apology wasn’t enough for some civil rights activists. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for a full review of the Galveston PD’s practices and policies, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"The photo of Galveston police officers leading an African American man down the street with a rope attached to his handcuffs is disturbing and offensive," ADL Interim Southwest Regional Director Gail Glasser said. "Although Police Chief Vernon Hale III has apologized, the department's actions have fallen short."

Black Lives Matter Houston called the police chief’s apology “weak” and vowed to protest the police department, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“This is 2019 and not 1819," Houston NAACP President James Douglas wrote in an email. "I am happy to know that Chief Vernon [Hale] issued an apology and indicated that the act showed poor judgement, but it also shows poor training. Even though the chief indicated that the technique would be discontinued he failed to address the lack of respect demonstrated by the officers in the episode."

The Washington Post reported that it was unclear whether the officers would face discipline for their actions despite the fact that the chief has made no mention of that and said the officers were working within current department policy.

The chief said the officers had their bodycams activated at the time of the incident.

Watch video of the incident below:

Comments (38)
No. 1-22
Lesstalkmoreaction
Lesstalkmoreaction

Correction to the headline. Galveston police lead criminal through the streets as per department policy.

Jbetty
Jbetty

Big whip, I'm sure this would have been fine if he were white

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

It's too bad the chiefs of police cannot be elected by the officers on the force. Instead they're political pawns with NO say in what goes on in their Dept. Stand up for your officers Chiefs or your departments will whittle themselves down when they move on to other cities.

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

What were they supposed to do, DRAG HIM?

OWiseOne
OWiseOne

The police were doing their jobs and the race card is being played everyday against them and all other white people. It sickens me to see everyone apologizing. The Obama administration, the democrats and media are responsible for this nonsense. The man under arrest had to walk 2 blocks. This had nothing to do with race. The race card needs to stop before it gets way out of control. Obama was anti police, anti military, anti American, and anti white.....so put the blame where it belongs. NAACP and Black Lives Matter need to be dissolved and labeled a hate group.

Bigyoda20
Bigyoda20

Here’s a thought: Don’t be a piece of shit criminal, don’t break the law, and you wouldn’t have to worry about things like this. P.s. Why in God’s name should police show “respect” to this person? Not saying treat him badly but what “respect” does he deserve? Respect is earned.Committing crimes whether it be trespassing or murder deserves NO respect.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The horses are a waste of money to begin with. Now they are a PR liability, too. Someone get Elmer's on the horn.

K9ndn
K9ndn

Apologize for what? They didn’t break any civil right? This was a old fashioned perp walk of a suspect. The can’t get off the horse and hold him at the same time. They didn’t have a foot patrol officer to escort him so it is what it is. Don’t brsak the law and get arrested!

Baxter12
Baxter12

Chief Hale, a spineless p.o.s.! What a shame that the department's officers can't "impeach" him.

LukeSolo
LukeSolo

Based on some of the replies... I take it some think it’s perfectly acceptable to walk a black man tethered to a horse for a misdemeanor charge? A practice that was put in place to use during crowd control?!? A misdemeanor that you could not wait for a transport or another unit to transport?!? And we wonder why things are the way they are these days. The dude was already in custody and causing no other problems but you won’t parade any other through town like that. If a LEO committed a crime, have they been perp walked through town like this?

Storm45
Storm45

As a dormer mounted officer, i would not have done it that way, not because of the optics, but because it is fraught with vicarious liability issues. But, it was completely unnecessary for the candy ass COO to apologize to a community that whines about everything. It is like dealing with three year olds.

See to your weapons and stand to your horses

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

Stop apologizing when it pertains to criminals as no one will be able to apologize enough to placate the victim mentality.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

It would have been much more acceptable for one officer to dismount and give the reins of his horse to the other and simply walk the perp away.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

This guy was not harmed in any way, he said the officers treated him well, but his family, who have ignored him his entire life, can smell the ghetto lottery money so they have come out of the woodwork. Now its time to apologize, not because anyone did anything wrong but because people don't like the way things look.

artw44
artw44

Don't want to be embarrassed, don't get arrested!

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

He has legs, so they let him walk. Save gas, save resources, they had it covered. Leave me alone. If the prisoner was white, I’m guessing people wouldn’t be so outraged, but he was a black man, so I guess this warrants “outrage”. What happened to the facts, a man was arrested, and he was taken into custody. Too much sensitivity and bringing color and race into this.

Woobie46
Woobie46

Another chief who could not care less about his own officers. He needs to GO! The criminal is a criminal...let's start backing the blue and let the criminals get embarrassed more frequently!

ACSO-Charles-One
ACSO-Charles-One

It does not make any difference what you do or say these Adam Henries will never be happy. Hell, you could of used a new rope and they still would have complained.

Brasov04cluj
Brasov04cluj

Chief Vernon Hale is a COWARD afraid of public opinion. Chief Vernon Hale OWES his Officers a VERY PUBLIC APOLOGY.

DR226
DR226

So what would looked better, the rope around his neck? This chief is very weak as a leader. Apologizes to a criminal for the department procedures and policies.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

Dear Black People, we police officers formally apologize for arresting you when you commit the countless crimes your kind seems inclined to commit. So please continue to to rob, rape, burgle, kill, car Jack and home invade. Again we are so sorry we interfered with your career choices.

Downthemiddle
Downthemiddle

Anybody would know that this was a PR problem. Get on the radio and have a car come get this guy. A much more serious problem is this Aaron Dean case. The lady who was shot was not a bad person. But she left her doors open and this resulted in a call for service from a neighbor. I don't know if the officer tried knocking or not. The news is carefully avoiding that factor. The officer cared enough to check outside the home. This is not reckless. This is not unreasonable. The officer saw a person in the window pointing a gun at him. Before anybody goes any further, the question is WHATIS HE SUPPOSED TO DO NOW ? He wasn't back there for fun. He was doing his job. Somehow, the same person in the fully illuminated house who forgot or didn't know her doors were open saw flashlights and instead of calling 911, she picked up a gun and aimed it at the officer. This could've been a K9 team tracking a suspect from a murder or rape or robbery. This could've been an officer searching for a missing child. This was in fact, an officer investigating very suspicious circumstances reported by a neighbor. He did not commit a murder or even a manslaughter. It's a terrible tragedy but this is a mistake caused because someone pointed a gun at an officer. The chief looked and sounded like the weakest, most pathetic, phony, cowardly piece of political sewage that ever spoke into a microphone. The officers in that department better not make a human error even if caused by someone else because that guy will run and throw them under a bus in a second.