Things That Matter

Update: The Black Man Led Through Texas By Police On Horseback Is Suing The City For $1 Million

 

Updated October 12, 2020.

Two Gavelston, Texas police officers arrested 43-year-old Donald Neely on criminal trespassing 50 miles south-east of Houston. The officers are both white, while Neely is black, thus, a photograph of the two officers on horseback escorting Neely whose hands were tied with a rope, sparked public outrage. Civil Rights advocacy groups felt the picture echoed imagery from the Jim Crow era or Antebellum south. 

While the Gavelston police were quick to apologize and change their policies, protestors demanded the officers’ release their bodycam footage of the incident, which took place last August. 

Now, Neely is suing Galveston, Texas, and its police department for more than $1 million after the incident.

Officers arrested Donald Neely on horseback last fall.

In the absence of a police vehicle, two white officers led Neely by rope as they rode on horseback through the streets of Gavelston. Reports describe Neely as homeless and mentally ill after he was arrested for trespassing. When a photo of the incident began to circulate online, there was a national outcry with many believing it was needlessly degrading. 

The police department admitted the officers demonstrated “poor judgment” and would not arrest someone using this method again. 

Galveston’s police chief, Vernon Hale apologized calling the rope an, “unnecessary embarrassment.”

“We have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale said. “We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique.”

Neeley’s lawsuit states that he was humiliated by the officers as he was led down the street and wants to ensure that no one else endures a similar experience.

“Many individuals stopped, stared and asked questions. Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit states.

Neely’s lawyer, Julie Ketterman, told CNN in a statement that her client “wants people to know that this lawsuit isn’t just about money. It’s about what is right and wrong for all people — whether they are black or white or whether they suffer from mental illness or whether they are homeless or not.”

Donald Neely’s family reacted on Facebook. 

Imagine that you have a relative who is homeless and mentally ill… Imagine that YOU are aware that living on the…

Posted by Christin Nicole on Monday, August 5, 2019

Donald Neely’s sister Christin Neely took to Facebook after the photos when viral. She shared her family’s story. Donald is mentally ill and became transient because of it. His family is still remarkably supportive and regularly searches for him when he goes missing. Fully aware that his unfortunate circumstances make him a target of law enforcement, it was no less traumatizing to discover how her brother had been arrested by seeing the viral photos.

“Imagine that you have a relative who is homeless and mentally ill… Imagine searching the streets of a city for days looking for your loved one, to no avail,” Christin wrote. “Just imagine for one second being one of his children who have been fatherless for years and your father isn’t incarcerated or dead. With all of that in mind, now imagine scrolling fb and seeing said loved one being escorted to jail on foot by 2 officers on horses, hands cuffed behind his back with a rope attached. In 2019???? He was treated like an animal paraded through the streets.”

After Christin’s post and viral outrage ensued, Hale issued an apology to Donald

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment. Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest,” Hale said. 

Civil Rights groups and protestors have demanded more action in the case. 

https://twitter.com/TezlynFigaro/status/1179505718673719297

Civil Rights advocacy groups were not completely satisfied with the way the arrest was handled, even if they did appreciate the police’s quick apology. However, no disciplinary action was taken with the two officers. 

“If it was a white man, he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” Leon Phillips, president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told the New York Times. “I guarantee there’s nothing in their rules that you can put a leash on a guy while you ride down the street on a horse.”

Phillips said that he grew up during segregation and the image made him emotional because during that time “people said and did whatever they wanted to,” to black folk. For Phillips, this incident was all too similar to many he had witnessed before. 

“This is 2019 and not 1819,” James Douglas, the president of Houston’s NAACP, told the Houston Chronicle. “I am happy to know that Chief Vernon [Hale] issued an apology and indicated that the act showed poor judgment, but it also shows poor training. Even though the chief indicated that the technique would be discontinued he failed to address the lack of respect demonstrated by the officers in the episode.”

Protestors were able to get Gavelston police to release bodycam footage.

Protestors and advocates successfully got the Gavelston police to release bodycam footage of the incident. The two officers, Amanda Smith and Patrick Brosch each made their footage public. 

In the video, Brosch asks Smith if she should go get her truck, but Smith feared their sergeant did not want the officers to separate. 

“This is gonna look really bad,” Brosch says laughing, as they start escorting Donald Neely with the rope. “This is gonna look so bad. I’m glad you’re not embarrassed, Mr. Neely.” 

Police Chief Hale says that the report and footage will be used to determine if further action must be taken.

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The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Things That Matter

The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Another Black man is dead, killed by the police.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man from Minnesota was murdered on Sunday after a police officer pulled him over for a traffic violation. In an attempt to take in Wright after realizing he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, it is being said that the officer meant to use her Taser but accidentally fired her gun.

Police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are saying that Wright’s attempt to reenter his car prompted the police fire.

Body camera footage of the Sunday incident was released for the first time on Monday during a news conference. Footage of the killing shows Wright outside of his car when authorities were attempting to place him under arrest. At one point, in the footage he can be seen attempting to reenter his vehicle, prompting a struggle with officers.

“I’ll tase ya,” a woman officer told Wright in the video after he attempted to kick her. “Taser, Taser, Taser!” the officer is heard yelling in the video before saying “Oh shit! I just shot him.”

According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, the officer meant to reach for her Taser.

Instead, she grabbed her gun.

“This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon claimed.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has identified the officer in the incident as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police department. Potter is now on administrative leave.

Speaking about her standing, Gannon said “I think we can watch the video and ascertain whether she will be returning.”

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott publicly supported Potter’s termination.

“My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession, so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” he explained before revealing that the officers initiated the traffic stop after clocking an expired registration tag on the car’s vehicle. When they ran Wright’s name they learned that he had a warrant out for his arrest. “That’s why they were moving from the car and they were making custodial arrest.”

Gannon went onto explain that the only information he had about the arrest warrant was that it was attached to a “gross misdemeanor warrant.”

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Disturbing Video Shows Workers Feeding White Kids First At A Georgia Daycare

Things That Matter

Disturbing Video Shows Workers Feeding White Kids First At A Georgia Daycare

Schools and daycares are supposed to be safe spaces for kids to be able to learn and to express themselves. However, we know that isn’t always the case. For years, children have had to fear gun violence on campus, bullying, and sexual assaults.

A recent video that’s gone viral shows that even younger kids aren’t safe from trauma, as a daycare in Georgia is being accused of blatant racism against its Black kids.

Young kids are experiencing hate and racism even at places meant to be safe for them.

The Kids ‘R’ Kids daycare center in Roswell, on the outskirts of Atlanta, has been accused of racism after a father checked in to the live feed at lunch time to see how his two-year-old son was doing and noticed that the white children were all fed first while the Black children were made to wait.

Adryan McCauley told CBS46: “They were skipping all of the Black kids it seemed like. All the white kids got their lunch, and all the Black kids had to wait. From the videos and pictures that we saw today, we are just completely disturbed.”

McCauley took a screenshot which he posted to Instagram, but the full video has not been released. He added that the boy’s mother asked the nursery what had happened and was reportedly told by the director: “I’m not really sure because I’m not in the classroom, maybe it’s a dietary thing.”

One of the families was sure to share what happened with the public.

According to the Daily Mail, the family of the 2-year-old posted the screenshot to Instagram, where it went viral.

“This is truly unbelievable. You better know this won’t be the last time you hear from me on this,” user @marquis_dagreat wrote, along with the screenshot. “Why does every white kid have their food? Not one black child has food in front of them! Thank God for cameras in classrooms because there is no way to hide this racism!”

“In the year 2021 this is truly unbelievable. As blacks we always strive to send our kids to schools in Suburban area’s [sic], but I’m telling you first hand that is not always best,” they continued. “This is not a black or white issue this is simply wrong!”

The brand behind the daycare has cut ties with the Georgia location.

The corporate office responded on Thursday by calling the screenshot “disturbing” and cutting ties with the location in question. 

“Our company has decided to terminate that franchisee’s Kids ‘R’ Kids contract and branding, effective immediately, leaving them to operate independently,” President and CEO David Vinson said in the statement, posted to Instagram. “We apologize to the family, the community and all of those impacted by this situation and will use this as a learning tool to remind our Kids ‘R’ Kids staff on the importance of diversity and inclusivity.”

Vinson added that the corporate office will help locate alternate preschool options for families displaced by the decision. 

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