A police department in Texas has apologized to a man after two mounted police officers leashed him to their horses during an arrest.
The photos, taken by bystanders in Galveston, Texas, prompted outrage and accusations of racism against the police department.
According to the Galveston Police, 43-year-old Donald Neely was arrested for criminal trespassing on Saturday. During his arrested, two officers — identified only as P. Brosch and A. Smith — clipped a rope to his handcuffs, which was being held by one of the officers.
The officers' body cameras were activated at the time. The department did not say whether the two officers had been disciplined.
We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston, that the photograph taken in Galveston is real. It is hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers. pic.twitter.com/bEFZnn4qmH
— Adrienne Bell (@AdrBell) August 5, 2019
"First and foremost, I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment," Galveston police chief Vernon L. Hale III said in a statement on the department's Facebook page. "Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest."
Hale went on to say that he "immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods." He also noted that the technique is commonly used during crowd control situations.
Read the department's full statement below.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.