An African American who was led on a rope by two white police officers on horseback in August 2019, has sued the city of Galveston in Texas and its police department for $1million.
Donald Neely, 44, who was homeless at the time, was sleeping on the pavement when he was arrested for trespassing.
Officers from Galveston Police Department, in Texas, then handcuffed him and led him by rope to a police staging area eight blocks away.
The photo of the humiliating arrest went viral and triggered a national outrage.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr Neely in Galveston County district court has described his humiliation as it alleged the officers’ conduct was ‘extreme and dangerous’.
It stated that the incident had physically injured Mr Neely and caused him emotional distress. It accused the city and the department of negligence, and said the officers involved should have known Mr Neely would consider it offensive to be led on the rope ‘as though he was a slave’.
The lawsuit went on: ‘Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were.’
In body-camera video from the incident, one officer could be heard stating on two occasions that leading Mr Neely by a rope would look ‘bad’.
Leon Phillips, President of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told The Houston Chronicle that the image of Mr Neely and the officers reminded him of racist images in the 1920s and beyond.
He said: ‘All I know is that these are two white police officers on horseback with a black man walking down the street with a rope tied to the handcuffs, and that doesn’t make sense, period. And I do understand this – if it was a white man, I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened.’