Black man led via rope by Texas police on horseback files $1M suit

Donald Neely, who has bipolar disorder, is seeking financial remedy after being humiliated by police.

A Black man who was led on foot by police officers on horseback has filed a lawsuit in the hopes it never again happens to anyone else.

Donald Neely, 44, is suing the city of Galveston, Texas and its police department for more than $1 million, according to CNN.

Donald Neely (left) is suing the Galveston Police Department for $1 million after its officers, on horseback, led him down the street via rope after an arrest. (Galveston Police Dept.)

Photos of Neely being walked by the officers resembled images of slavery, his suit claims, and his attorney said officers should have known better.

The lawsuit says: “(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.” It adds, “Many individuals stopped, stared and asked questions. Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were.”

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Neely’s attorney, Julie Ketterman, says her client is not filing the lawsuit for merely self-gain.

“Donald wants people to know that this lawsuit isn’t just about money,” she wrote to CNN via email. “It’s about what is right and wrong for all people — whether they are black or white or whether they suffer from mental illness or whether they are homeless or not.”

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The city no longer uses that method when relocating individuals.

Neely was arrested at a post office and was charged with criminal trespass last August. The case against him was dropped in May, and according to his attorney, he suffers from bipolar disorder and was homeless for years.

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The Galveston Police Department did apologize to Neely, and the police chief blamed the incident on “poor judgment,” admitting officers “could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest.”

The city also issued a third-party investigation. The case was examined by the Texas Rangers, who decided a criminal investigation was not necessary.

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