Unbelievably wrong…

// 22 December 2008

12-year-old Dymond Milburn was sent outside by her mum to turn the electricity back on, after the circuit breaker flipped, Houston Press reports on what happened next:

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.”

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the “tight shorts” she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn’s attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond’s school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.

“I think we’ll be okay,” says Griffin. “I don’t think a jury will find a 12-year-old girl guilty who’s just sitting outside her house. Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she’s a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She’s scared to death.”

Unbelievably, the police department are still pressing for the trial of Dymond and her father for resisting arrest.

This one is so awful, where do you even begin? I think it’s fair to say that the police officers’ behaviour would have been wrong, wrong, wrong, even if it had been directed at adult prostitutes, rather than a 12-year-old girl.

But, as Renee says:

As the police continue to victim blame this story continues to be ignored by major media outlets. It seems that when a black girl gets assaulted it is not newsworthy material. We don’t live in a world where black children matter despite the lie that we care about all children.

Comments From You

Ruth Moss // Posted 22 December 2008 at 2:40 pm

That is absolutely shocking. And even more so that the police are still pressing for the trial of the girl and her father!

But worst of all is that it is being ignored by the mass media. How the hell is this unimportant?

Renee // Posted 22 December 2008 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for blogging this. What happened to Dymond really hit a nerve with me as a black mother. I have always feared that if something were to happen to one of my boys that the color of their skin would be enough for people to ignore what happened. I often feel that no one but their father and I would truly care. All children are precious and we need to start loving them and protecting them, not harming them at every turn.

Ellie // Posted 22 December 2008 at 4:28 pm

Bloody hell. Poor kid, I hope she gets over this ok and i hope the police get punished for their behaviour, though undoubtedly they won’t.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 22 December 2008 at 6:42 pm

Of course mainstream media ignored this latest example of blatant white racism against an African American 12 year old girl. The story itself is not ‘sexually sensational’ because the child is only 12 years old and she suffered severe injuries inflicted on her by adult white males.

Even worse if this child had been subjected to male sexual exploitation – not prostitution, because there is no such thing as ‘child prostitution.’ However, there is the endemic issue of male sexual exploitation and male sexual violence against children. This is the real issue.

Is this how white male police officers are supposed to treat disadvantaged children (predominantly girls) who have been subjected to male sexual exploitation and male sexual violence? By inflicting physical violence upon them because they are seen as dehumanised worthless objects not victims of men’s pseudo belief they are entitled to commit sexual torture on female children.

But there white male powerful institutions are a law unto themselves and this is why they are determined to prosecute an innocent African American girl because she refused to remain passive but courageously fought back against her male aggressors.

Bea Valle // Posted 22 December 2008 at 9:01 pm

Shocking. I’m officially depressed now.

Kez // Posted 23 December 2008 at 10:46 am

“Unbelievably wrong” just about describes it… just…horrendous.

The lawyer for the police is quoted in the article as saying “The father basically attacked police officers as they were trying to take the daughter into custody after she ran off.”

Well, yeah. Three men in plain clothes were trying to drag off his young daughter for no apparent reason. What do they expect a father to do in those circumstances? It’s lucky no-one was shot!

Kez // Posted 23 December 2008 at 10:49 am

Also, let’s see –

– they went to the wrong place – two blocks away!

– they arrested a “suspect” of the wrong description, apparently solely based on the fact that she was female and “wearing tight shorts”.

– as if what originally happened wasn’t bad enough, they have continually compounded it since instead of just admitting they made an error.

These guys are total incompetents.

maggie // Posted 23 December 2008 at 6:50 pm

Shocking behaviour from the police and yet they expect society to abide by the rules of law and order.

Can they not see how wrong this is? The film ‘The Changeling’ (based on true events) comes to mind where the woman insists the son the police ‘found’ for her isn’t her son. She wasn’t believed.

Isn’t this the 21st century?

kat // Posted 24 December 2008 at 9:45 am

What father would allow three men to drag his 12 year old daughter into a car? What father would not try to stop them?

Em // Posted 24 December 2008 at 11:48 am

Please, please tell me that the family is suing the police for assault of a minor?

She is a child, that was grabbed by 3 men, of course she would’ve fought back. Good on her. But the police are charging them? How DARE they? And how dare they go to her school and arrest her?


RadFemHedonist // Posted 26 December 2008 at 5:56 pm

What they did to her is awful, I hope she gets through this without being permanently traumatised. They assaulted someone because they thought they were a prostitute (assaulting prostitutes: NOT OK), they thought that because they were wearing shorts, as if no woman ever wears shorts unless as a form of sexual display, and I’m guessing her being African American had something to do with it as well, it certainly was primarily responsible for the mainstream media’s ignorance of the story.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds