The suspect, identified by officials as Donald Neely, was arrested by officers P. Brosch and A. Smith for criminal trespassing. In a Monday release, the department explained that Neely had been handcuffed and that a “line was clipped to the man’s handcuffs” as cops led him to an area from which the mounted police were staging. Photos and chatter of the arrest began to surface on Saturday.
— Adrienne Bell (@AdrBell) August 5, 2019
Addressing the bubbling outrage, the department’s Chief Vernon L. Hale III apologized to Neely in a statement, saying that the “trained technique” caused an “unnecessary embarrassment” for the 43-year-old detainee.
“I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest,” Hale stated. “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.”
The department has also revealed that both officers did have their body-worn camera activated throughout the arrest. It’s unclear if footage of the arrest will be released to the public.
Sherri Kelly, a Texas resident visiting the area, told local news station ABC 13 that the actions exhibited by the mounted cops were simply “inhumane.”
“Why did they do it to begin with? Policy or not … who treats someone that way? It’s a human being,” she added.
James Douglas, president of the NAACP’s Houston chapter, told the Houston Chronicle that the incident showed a lack of respect for people of color.
"This is 2019 and not 1819," he told the outlet. "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."
Adrienne Bell, a Democratic candidate for Texas' 14th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives, also chimed in on the arrest and took to Twitter to discuss the technique, tweeting, “It’s hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers.”
In an extended statement, Bell indicated that she expects “swift action” in order to “ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again.”
The department told ABC 13 that neither Brosch nor Smith is facing any disciplinary action presently. According to the Chronicle, Neely is out on bond.