‘We will do better:’ Galveston PD chief responds to viral arrest photo at town hall meeting

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A community meeting was held in Galveston Wednesday night following a recent incident involving an arrest made by the police department’s mounted patrol division.

The Galveston Police Department hosted it community meeting to have a chance for the chief to share information about the arrest and to respond to the community’s questions. It’s this photo right here that has everyone talking:

The arrest happened on Saturday and this photo quickly spread around social media. The picture looks like the man under arrest, 43-year-old Donald Neely, is being led using a rope between mounted patrol officers.

The police department has since said that Neely was handcuffed and a line was clipped to the handcuffs. Police chief Vernon Hale said at the time of the Neely’s arrest, there was not a transportation unit immediately available and transporting a person using mounted horses is considered the best practice in some scenarios, but this was not one of them.

he chief gave a public apologize and agreed the officers showed poor judgment in this instance. During the community meeting, Hale promised to do better before taking questions from the audience.

“I commit to you that we will do better," Hale said. "We will do better on the front end of any policy we create. We will do better as our policies evolve and we find a better way to do things. We will do better as an administration in ensuring that we have the proper tools, equipment, policies and controls in place for us to police this island in the image we want to be seen in.”

Adrienne Bell, a local educator and politician who is currently running for Congress, spoke out about the incident in a recent Facebook post.

"Swift action is needed to ensure that no one is demeaned in this manner again, and arrest procedures are fair, just, and humane," she said in the post.

Wednesday night’s meeting went on for about an hour and a half and several community members had questions for the chief.  Ben Crump, an attorney representing Neely's family, also showed up to express their concerns.

“It’s the right thing to stand up for Donald Neely, to speak for Donald Neely because he can’t speak for himself," Crump said. "Those officers took advantage of a mentally ill black man.”

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