Welcome to Galveston, Texas. This is a city where apparently it’s okay to tie Black people up and lead us by rope - just like we’re enslaved. At least, that’s the message local police are sending out after viral photos exposed them doing this. Their response? It’s just as disturbing.
The Black man in the photos is mentally ill, according to his family. He sleeps on the streets and has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The police KNEW this based on his record, but they decided, as police often do with mentally ill people, to treat him like he’s less than human.
The image of white men on horseback arresting Black men conjures up traumatic memories of slavery for Black people. The first police forces in the USA came from units assembled by slave catchers, so these police in Galveston may be trying to return to their roots.
What’s disheartening is that Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale, who’s Black, issued an apology! He’s been taking a lot of heat for what these white officers did in response to a man trespassing. It’s yet another example that Black police don’t stop racism on police forces.
The police are calling it “poor judgment” and talking about training, but this is deeper than that.
The police have treated Black people this way for centuries, and pretending it’s a simple accident won’t help. We can’t accept being policed like this any longer. Period.