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Galveston police are apologizing after a dramatic photo went viral on Monday with two horse-mounted officers leading a handcuffed Black man by what appears to be a rope.

A man, 43-year-old Donald Neely was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge, was being led by two officers who were on horseback and that they had “clipped” a “line” to Neely’s handcuffs after he was arrested on Saturday (August 3).

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said in the 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.”

Hale added that the two arresting officers did not have malicious intentions during the arrest and that the department has changed the policy to prevent the technique from being used again.

“[We] will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” he said.

The image stirred a very strong reaction on social media, gaining responses from presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, the Anti-Defamation League, the Houston chapter of the NAACP and more.

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