Many didn’t believe that the photos of two police officers on horseback walking a handcuffed black man down the street on a leash was real. It looked like an image from the 1960s Jim Crow South. It looked an image ripped from a book about racism.
Sadly, the image was not only an actual photo taken in 2019, it’s a snapshot of how far we’ve fallen in Trump’s America.
As the image spread on social media like herpes at Coachella, Galveston, Texas’ police chief admitted that the image of mounted police officers walking a trespassing suspect, Donald Neely, 43, by a rope was, in fact, real and then he apologized for the officers’ actions.
“First and foremost, I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Vernon L. Hale III, the city’s police chief, said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page on Monday night, the New York Times reports.
“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 arrest.”
The Times notes that the police chief’s statement didn’t address whether the officers would be facing any disciplinary actions.
“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,” Chief Hale said. “We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique. The police chief has taken immediate action to suspend this technique of transportation during arrests.”
Leon Phillips, the president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told the Times that the two officers should be fired.
“If it was a white man, he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” Phillips said. “I guarantee there’s nothing in their rules that you can put a leash on a guy while you ride down the street on a horse.”
Phillips added that images were triggering for African Americans who can remember a time when this was the norm.
“Every black person that’s over the age of 30 years old will have a thought of what it used to be like,” Mr. Phillips said. “Younger people, they have a tendency to not get emotional about something like this. I get emotional because I came from a segregated time, and people said and did whatever they wanted to.”