Donald Neely, a Black man who was at the center of a controversial arrest caught on camera last year in Galveston, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city as well as its police department.
Neely was arrested in August 2019 by two Galveston police officers on horseback. Instead of calling for a squad car to take Neely to the precinct, they escorted him through downtown using a rope clipped to his handcuffs.
The imagery of the arrest sparked public backlash and outrage across the country. The police department would later apologize for how Neely was arrested, citing “the negative perception of this action” and said it would no longer use the transportation technique.
According to the lawsuit, Neely was arrested on criminal trespassing charges, although the charges were later dismissed. He’s seeking $1 million in damages for the emotional distress caused by the arrest and claiming negligence on the part of the officers involved. The lawsuit claims that the arrest was “extreme and outrageous” and caused him “embarrassment, humiliation and fear.”
“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit states. “He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a run-away horse.”