I was just coming to “Alas” to post about the horrific assault of Dymond Milburn, but I see Jeff is already there. But I wanted to add three quick points to Jeff’s comments.
1) The assault on Dymond Milburn is about racism.
It’s self-evident that Dymond was targeted for being female while outdoors; but what some blog posts I’ve read have missed is, she was also targeted for being black while outdoors. Renee writes:
Daily the social reduction of bodies of colour occurs. It is no accident that black girls are the ones that most likely to receive corporal punishment in the education systems that still allow it, just as it was no accident that two black girls were chosen to re-enact the middle passage. This little girl is the living example of the ways in which black women continue to suffer and yet we are not allowed to be angry.
2) As Jill points out, the assault on Dymond Milburn is about the wretched treatment of prostitutes by our society.
The police grabbed Dymond, they claim, because they believed she was a prostitute. What makes the story newsworthy, however, is that Dymond was a 12-year-old girl, not a prostitute. If she had been a prostitute, the abuse she received would be objected to by only a few far-out radicals. Prostitutes are raped and assaulted by cops all the time, and no one says boo.
3) The assault of Dymond Milburn was about a culture of police arrogance and abuse.
The fact that three cops acted together implies something very different than one cop acting alone and trying to hide his act.1 But the really telling thing is this: “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.” Rather than trying to cover it up, or rather than punishing these three cops, the police force decided to enact retribution on the 12-year-old girl for resisting being dragged into a van by three strange men. And a prosecutor is aiding them in this. This isn’t bad apples; it’s a system.
I’d really love to see these three men — and their commanders, and the prosecutor — fired and publicly humiliated. Unfortunately, probably the system will protect its own; and the abuses of blacks, of women, and of prostitutes (and of many other groups, as well) will continue.
- One of the three, Officer Gilbert Gomez, has since been promoted to vice Narcotics commander, a position which presumably affords him even more opportunities to get away with assaulting 12 year olds. [↩]