Two white police officers in Galveston, Texas, will not face any criminal proceedings after a viral photograph showed them leading a mentally ill Black man by rope.
“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 obtained by ABC News 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.”
Both the Galveston County Sheriff’s office and the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted a probe into Neely’s arrest. However, according to ABC News, the Galveston County Sheriff’s office is involved in an ongoing independent investigation.
The disturbing photo which was taken on August 3, shows officers P. Brosch and A. Smith, as they led Donald Neely, 43, by handcuff bound to a rope. Neely was arrested that day on criminal trespass and was unable to be transported via vehicle. Officers instead opted for a different mode of transportation harkening back to the days of slavery, which of course triggered a damning response on social media.
Shortly after the photo went viral, the Galveston Police Department issued an apology via their official Facebook page.
“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,” Chief Hale wrote. “We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique. The police chief has taken immediate action to suspend this technique of transportation during arrests.”
Neely’s family contends that his civil liberties were violated because he suffers from a mental disability.
Donald’s sister Taranette Neely told ABC News that she “doesn’t have a reaction to the Rangers’ decision and is awaiting the conclusion of the full investigation.”
“The way the officers treated him, it just ain’t right… They dehumanized my brother on the streets,” Andy Neely, Donald’s younger brother, said. “Why would they do that after several encounters with him? It was just to humiliate him. No man, no women, black, brown, purple, should be embarrassed the way my brother was.”
During a news conference on Monday, Neely’s family demanded that the Galveston Police Department to release the body camera footage.