The Texas Rangers have concluded an initial inquiry into the Galveston Police Department’s arrest of Donald Neely and determined nothing about the case warrants a criminal investigation into the actions of the two police officers involved.

The Rangers announced the end of the inquiry Friday morning. The agency conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office before deciding to end the inquiry, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Craig Cummings.

“At the request of the Galveston Police Department, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed,” Cummings said. “The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation.”

Last week, city officials asked the Rangers to conduct a third-party investigation into Neely’s Aug. 3 arrest for criminal trespassing in downtown Galveston.

During his arrest, Neely was handcuffed and attached to a line held by two mounted police officers, and walked four blocks through city streets between two horses.

Social media images of Neely’s arrest sparked an international outcry against the city and the police department. Critics of the arrest accused the officers of racism, and compared the photos of Neely to historic images of slavery.

The Rangers did not describe what they did to investigate Neely’s arrest and referred questions about the investigation to the district attorney’s office.

On Aug. 10, the city confirmed investigators were looking into statements made by the police officers to Neely during his arrest. A witness told The Daily News that one of the officers told Neely “‘If you don’t keep walking, I’m going to drag you.’”

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office had not concluded its own investigation into Neely’s arrest, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.

While the Rangers were tasked with investigating whether the officers violated any criminal statutes, the sheriff’s office was asked to review whether the officers violated any of the police department’s own administrative procedures.

The sheriff’s office is still in the early stages of its investigation, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said. The administrative review might not be completed until some time in September, he said.

City officials anticipate they’ll receive a written report about the investigation of Neely’s arrest once the review is completed, they said.

In a statement, Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale thanked the Rangers for reviewing the case.

“I truly appreciate the time, effort and prompt attention the Texas Rangers provided to reviewing the facts of this case,” Hale said. “I am pleased this portion of the investigation has concluded. As we await the conclusion of the independent administrative review, the department continues our ongoing efforts to ensure the best practices, training and resources are available for our law enforcement officers.”

On Aug. 5, Hale said the officers who arrested Neely would be counseled about their actions, but the city and the department have not announced any other disciplinary actions against the officers.

Hale has said the officers followed their training in the technique they used to arrest Neely, but used poor judgment in deciding to move him across downtown instead of waiting for a police car to pick him up.

The city has not yet released the body camera recordings of Neely’s arrest. The recording has been requested for release by The Daily News, other media outlets and Neely’s attorneys.

The city will not release the recordings at least until the administrative investigation is completed, Barnett said.

Neely’s supporters would continue demanding transparency and accountability, regardless of the Ranger Division’s finding, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Neely’s family, said in a statement issued Friday evening.

“The only way to rebuild trust after this instance of bad policing is to be transparent and send a clear message that Mr. Neely was deserving of respect, just as any other American citizen,” Crump wrote.

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


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(18) comments

Carlos Ponce

For those of you from Liberalville, the term "Texas Rangers" does not refer to the baseball team.

And of course, this finding will not prevent the anti-police pundits from their hatred on the fine officers of your fair city.

Officers, you're doing a GREAT job! Thank you!

Bailey Jones

Silly billy. Liberals don't do baseball. "Texas Rangers" doesn't evoke professional sports, it evokes ethnic cleansing.

Carlos Ponce

Based on some of the posts about the Law Enforcement Texas Rangers in this forum, it is apparent some of our Liberal writers have no concept of the modern agency's role in law enforcement today and instead look at the few miscarriages of justice from centuries past.

And I know some Liberals who think only of the baseball club when "Texas Rangers" is mentioned."Liberals don't do baseball." - Well, some do.

Jimmy Macicek


Dan Freeman

The Porvenir massacre was an incident on January 28, 1918 outside the village of Porvenir in Presidio County, Texas, in which Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers, and local ranchers killed 15 unarmed Mexican villagers, both men and boys. The Texas Rangers Company B was sent to the area to stop banditry after the Brite Ranch raid. Despite having no evidence that the Porvenir villagers were involved in recent thefts or the killings of ranchers, the Rangers separated fifteen men and boys from the rest of the village and shot them on a nearby hill.

Carlos Ponce

As a result, "On June 4, 1918, Governor William Pettus Hobby disbanded Company B of the Texas Rangers, firing Andrew Charles Baker, Max Herman, Bud Weaver, Allen Cole, and Boone Oliphant, and transferring J. R. Bates, O. C. Dowe, S. H. Neill, A. H. Woelber, A. G. Beard, N. N. Fuller, and Frank Patterson to Company D. He also pressured the captain of Company B, James Monroe Fox, to resign." "Adj. Gen. James A. Harley decided to publicly condemn the massacre."

For the aftermath read:

Don Schlessinger

The rest of the story. I wonder why DF didn't include that.

Michael Byrd


Bailey Jones

Probably because that's not the rest of the story. The campaign against ethnic Mexicans in Texas in the early 1900s is well documented, and is much more than this single event - although the Porvenir Massacre is one of the best known. At least 300 Mexicans and Mexican Americans were shot or lynched during this time. After the depression, thousands of Mexican American US citizens were forcibly deported. I'm sure Carlos knows all this, being a history teacher and all.

Carlos Ponce

So you've expanded it beyond the Porvenir Massacre.

Dan Freeman

Here is the rest that Mr. Ponce and I left out. The article continues “Fox’s forced resignation, firing five Texas Rangers, and disbanding Company B offered a rare occasion when state police faced reprimand and dismissal for extralegal violence. Despite the damning evidence, however, no participants in the massacre were prosecuted for their involvement.”

“In January 1919, when a committee of Texas congressmen convened to investigate the state police, Representative Canales introduced the Porvenir massacre as an example of abuse and condemned the act as ‘cold-blooded murder.’”

“In June 1926, eight years after the event, Mexican attorneys filed twelve separate claims against the United States regarding the Porvenir massacre. … Mexican attorneys made three charges: Texas authorities did not give due protection to the men arrested by the Texas Rangers; the local authorities were the material authors and accomplices of the crimes committed at Porvenir; and the state authorities denied justice by failing to apprehend, prosecute, and punish the persons responsible for the murders.”

While the investigations helped clean up the Rangers, they have rarely if ever acknowledged a history of violence against minorities. Rather like inviting the fox to investigate the missing chickens.

Carlos Ponce

In order to keep my post short I provided a link to the '"other'' information.

Randy Chapman

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Good Lord!

Stuart Crouch

Wow, yeah, asking the state's polyester & sideburns good ol' boys to look into this one was visionary! The state, who worked prison labor in the fields, by horseback, with shotguns and bullwhips, and that hunt men, some convicted, some merely suspects, on their horses, with their dogs. Better luck (and impartiality) might have been found through the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. Regardless, it doesn't appear likely that there was any criminal law violation to have occurred, excepting some potential issues regarding the initial reporting and the preservation/destruction of evidence. Time will tell...or maybe not.

In any event, it's fun to watch and read the wonderful folks that are tripping over one another to try and defend a) the thin blue whatever; b) GPD; c) The two mounties; d) the mayor; e) the chief; f) the policy manual; g) white people, in general; h) white criminal suspects; I) our sacred 'family values', j) God, guns and the 'Amerikan' way. All of this for $20 a month (+ the REAL comics and puzzlers)!

Dan Freeman

It's our morning cardio workout[beam]

Randy Chapman

Stuart, maybe you should move to a country you like as this one has way too many faults, according to you.

Emile Pope

Who are you to be telling anyone to move anywhere? Didn't see you moving when Barack Obama was president.

Carlos Ponce

Many especially the Hollywood elite) promised to move out of the country if Trump was elected. Some even promised to pay their expenses. Did they depart? No.

I do not remember anyone promising to move if Obama was elected.

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