(CNN)A Texas police department is apologizing for its treatment of an African-American man that the police chief said caused the man “unnecessary embarrassment.”
Photos show two mounted officers from the Galveston Police Department escorting a handcuffed man. One officer is leading the man, identified as 43-year-old Donald Neely, with what appears to be a rope. Neely was arrested and charged with criminal trespass Saturday, according to police. He was released Sunday, police said.
Police said the officer is holding a “line” that was clipped to the man’s handcuffs, not a rope.
“While this technique of using mounted horses to transport a person during an arrest is considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control, the practice was not used correctly in this instance,” police said in a statement. There was no transportation immediately available at the time of the arrest, police said.
The officers showed “poor judgment” and “could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest,” Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III said.
Galveston police held a community meeting Tuesday to discuss the incident. At a press conference in Galveston before the meeting, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who does not represent Neely’s family, criticized the police department.
“When they drag Donald Neely down the road by horses and rope, it was like they (were) dragging our entire community down the road,” Crump said.
“This is not 1819. This is 2019. And that image projected back to 1819, as if those were the fugitive slave hunters, and that Donald Neely was a slave being … with horse and rope brought down the street,” Crump said.