White officers who led a black man down the street on a rope won't face criminal charges
Two Texas police officers who prompted outrage after being photographed leading a black man down the street by a rope will not be facing criminal charges for their actions, it has been revealed by authorities.
The incident, which took place in Galveston earlier this month, sparked a national outcry and embodied the legacies of slavery, racism, and the power imbalance between the black community and police for many who saw the powerful image.
According to The New York Times: "The Galveston Police Department had asked the Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Public Safety to review whether the officers committed any crimes."
However, despite the provocative photograph captured by a passing member of the public, the agency concluded that the officers were not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.
In a statement provided to the media, the department revealed: "The Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed. The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation."
Since details of the shocking arrest first appeared on social media, more information has been made public.
According to multiple media outlets, 43-year-old Donald Neely was arrested by the two officers for criminal trespassing, before they realized that there wasn’t a vehicle available to transport him to the nearest police station. It was this that prompted them to secure Neely with a rope and lead him down the street.
Despite the backlash over the treatment of Neely - who relatives have subsequently revealed is "mentally ill" - senior Texas police officers were quick to defend their colleagues. Two days after the event, Galveston police chief Vernon L. Hale III claimed that, though the officers had used "poor judgement", they were simply executing techniques that they were trained to use.
Geoff Gainer, the president of the Galveston Municipal Police Association, offered a similar opinion, stating that:
"(Officers) are expected to choose the least bad option and follow best practice and department guidelines, and these officers did exactly that.
"Our officers were faced with a difficult choice, as they are every day they do their jobs. Their job is to promote public safety and enforce our laws. They did this to the best of their ability, followed all training and protocols they had been provided and maintained their professionalism throughout."