Neely Body Camera

Donald Neely and Galveston Police Officer Patrick Brosch are pictured standing outside the Galveston Park Board of Trustees building on Aug. 3. The image is a screen capture from a body camera recording of Neely's arrest released on Wednesday.


The city of Galveston has released two body camera recordings showing the Aug. 3 arrest of Donald Neely.

The recordings show the arrest of the Neely, a mentally ill, homeless, black man, from the perspective of the two mounted Galveston Police Department officers, Patrick Brosch and Amanda Smith, who arrested him on a criminal trespassing charge outside the Galveston Park Board of Trustees building on Postoffice Street.

The recordings are the most complete record yet of the arrest that thrust Neely, the officers and the police department into an international spotlight in August.

During his arrest, Neely was attached to a line and walked through the city's downtown to a staging area where the officers had parked a horse trailer. 

Pictures of Neely walking between the two horses circulated on social media two days after his arrest, and drew comparisons to historic images of slavery and Jim Crow-era treatment of black people.

On Aug. 8, the Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale apologized for causing Neely unnecessary embarrassment and said that officers used poor judgment when deciding to move Neely.

Other people have defended the officers, saying they followed their training while making a legal arrest.

Wednesday's release seems likely to fuel more debate about what happened during the arrest.

Among other things, the videos show the police officers approaching Neely while he was sleeping outside the park board building and contacting a supervisor before taking him into custody.

It also shows the officers expressing reservations about moving or arresting Neely.

"This is going to look really bad," Brosch said, as he moved to attach the line to Neely.

While walking down Postoffice Street, Smith can be heard warning Neely that he might be dragged, and both officers talk to him throughout the 400-yard walk.

The videos also appear to refute Galveston Municipal Police Association claims about the arrest. The union had argued the officers had led Neely from the park board building to an area where he could have water and air-conditioning.

Neely was not given water or put into an air-conditioned car or a shaded area when he arrived at the staging area. The police SUV that transported him to the jail arrived about five minutes after the officers arrived at the staging area, and 15 minutes after the officers first encountered Neely.

The city released the records after receiving a copy of an administrative review of Neely's arrest completed by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office review was not released on Wednesday, and it's unclear when or if it will be, officials said.

The review is, for now, being treated the same as an investigation conducted by the police department's internal affairs investigators, officials said.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale will use the review to decide whether the officers should be disciplined for their actions while arresting Neely.

“I appreciate the efforts of Sheriff Henry Trochesset and thank the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office for taking the time to perform a thorough, independent review of the arrest," Hale said. "I am studying the report now and will use its findings to make decisions in the near future about the next steps for the department."

This is a developing story. Check back later for more details.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


(8) comments

Bailey Jones

Move along, nothing to see here.

Donald Roccaforte


Wayne Holt

Thank you. My sentiments exactly.

Carlos Ponce

400-yard walk - not even a quarter of a mile. Us oldsters used to have to run a quarter mile (440 yards) in PE. An easy run, a far easier walk.

Craig Mason

Do you remember the physical fitness test in grade school? Was it called the presidents physical fitness award ?

Carlos Ponce

The Presidential Physical Fitness Award was announced in December 1965 by the Johnson administration. Physically proficient students from grades 5 to 12 received a sweater patch bearing the Presidential Seal and a certificate. I never got one. I was good at sit ups and a few other things but not enough to get a patch.

Events included Shuttle run, 50 yard dash, 500-yard run/walk, Pull-up (boys),

Modified pull-up (girls), Flexed arm hang (girls), Softball throw, Long jump, Sit-ups with different criteria for each age group.

Dalton Logan

Was Mr. Neely the only person ever handled this way? I don't remember anything on TV or in print prior to his arrest. Just curious.

Carlos Ponce

No, he was not the only person ever handled this way. Watch:

Difference - a Black officer and a white officer leading two white men.

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