The Ranger Division, which was requested to conduct a third-party investigation into the matter by the Galveston Police Department, ultimately concluded that behavior exhibited by the officers did not prompt any criminal concerns.
"At the request of the Galveston Police Department, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed," Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lieutenant Craig Cummings wrote in a statement on Friday.
"The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation." The statement further notes that the officers “had not violated the law.”
The two officers, identified as officers P. Brosch and A. Smith with the Galveston Police Department, ignited mass outrage on August 3 after photos showing the pair walking handcuffed 43-year-old Donald Neely on a rope leash surfaced on social media. For many, the photos invoked the imagery of captured slaves.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) August 6, 2019
With many Galveston residents voicing concern, Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III issued an apology to the community and indicated that the “trained technique” caused “unnecessary embarrassment” for Neely, who at the time had been apprehended for criminal trespassing.
“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,” Hale’s statement continued. Neely was released from police custody after posting bond.
Despite the Friday development, an investigation by the Galveston Police Department into the arrest is still ongoing. Neely’s family is presently demanding the release of the footage recorded on the officers’ body-worn cameras.