Galveston orders review after photo of arrested man being led by rope goes viral

HOUSTON – Galveston leaders have ordered a third-party review of an arrest that was the subject of a photo that has grabbed national headlines.

Officials said the Texas Rangers – the investigative agency of the Texas Department of Public Safety -- and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office will conduct two inquiries into the arrest of Donald Neely on Saturday

Police said Neely was detained by two officers assigned to mounted patrol on suspicion of trespassing. A photo of the arrest circulated on social media, showing the two officers on horseback leading a handcuffed Neely down the street by a rope.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said his officers were following procedure and had no malicious intent. He admitted that the optics of the photo were troubling and that the agency needs to learn from this situation.

According to city officials, the Texas Rangers will conduct a criminal inquiry related to Neely’s arrest, while the Sheriff’s Office will review the Police Department’s policies and practices as they relate to the arrest.

“This is such a polarizing event that it is imperative that we have an independent, third-party investigation to ensure we address any potential issues,” Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell said.

The findings will be disclosed after the investigation is complete, officials said.

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