The Galveston Police Department has issued an apology after disturbing images of an arrest sparked outrage on social media. The photo, taken by a witness, shows white officers leading a black man through the streets of Galveston, on horseback, tethered to what looked like a leash.
"When I looked at the picture, I saw utter disrespect for another human being. The first thing that came to my mind was this is 2019 and not 1819," said Houston NAACP president James Douglas.
Douglas said the image is disturbing because it harkens back to the dark days of the antebellum South when black people were forced to walk alongside mounted slave owners. During the Civil Rights Movement, mounted patrol units often evoked fear among peaceful protesters.
"If this individual had been white, this never would have happened," Douglas said.
Galveston Police Chief Vernon Haley said the suspect had been warned several times against trespassing before he was arrested. But in a statement, the chief apologized, saying in part, "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."
Body cameras were activated. When CBS News asked if that video would be released, we were told the department wants to first work with the community.