A Black homeless man handcuffed, attached to rope and led down the street by two mounted police officers said he wasn’t cogent when he repeatedly told Texas officers, “I’m not embarrassed.”
When Donald Neely, 43, saw footage of the incident, he told the Houston Chronicle Friday he was overcome with shame.
“I wasn’t embarrassed walking between the horses until I seen the video,” Neely said during the interview. “It came back and hurt me because I did not know I was getting video recorded by the public. Now I feel embarrassed.”
Neely had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and living on Galveston streets since 2016 when Galveston police officers Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith arrested him on a trespassing charge, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Body camera footage the city recently released showed an officer admitting it was going to look bad before starting the trek with Neely on August 3.
Since the incident in question, Neely has entered a Houston treatment center for three weeks; moved in with his sister, Taranette, and her family in Clear Lake City; and started a daily medication regimen, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In the much-discussed footage of the man, officer Brosch can be heard asking Smith if she should get their truck to avoid making Neely walk. Smith responded that their sergeant wouldn’t approve of the officers separating.
“This is gonna look really bad,” Brosch said.
He repeated a version of the same statement just before beginning to lead Neely down the road.
“This is gonna look so bad,” he said.
Smith can be heard asking if Neely had shoes before making him walk in what appeared to be white socks.
Neely’s attorney, Julie Ketterman, told the Houston Chronicle her client’s treatment was unacceptable.
“I don’t care what’s in the books — for anybody to think for a second that would be OK, not just for a black man but for any human being, mentally ill or otherwise, is just absurd to me,” Ketterman said. “The black eye that I think it put — not just on Galveston, but Texas now — infuriates me.”
She said she is considering a lawsuit against the city alleging Neely’s civil rights were violated, but she told the newspaper she would consider a settlement.
“Do I want to get him compensated so that he isn’t on the streets? Absolutely,” Ketterman said. “He knows what happened is wrong, but he’s not angry. He just doesn’t want it to happen again, and he doesn’t want it to happen to anybody.”
Neely’s had six trespassing violations this year alone, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“They’re wasting taxpayer dollars,” Neely told the newspaper. “Every time they get me for trespassing, they let me go the next day. That’s how weak their cases are.”
Still, he said he doesn’t plan on breaking the law again.
“Obey the law,” Neely said. “The law is holy, but it’s not forgiving.”