The Assault Of Dymond Milburn Was About Three Things

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.

  1. 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. []
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13 Responses to The Assault Of Dymond Milburn Was About Three Things

  1. 1
    Radfem says:

    Unfortunately, this happens too often. And Galveston’s a pretty bad department but it’s not the only one like this.

    And maybe it’s just me, but I tend to believe that the officers who can’t behave themselves on patrol and get into trouble there tend to be the ones who wind up working in special units like narcotics. And even when they misbehave, they get wrist slapped if that and stay in that unit. I’ve seen it happen enough. In fact, at least one of my blog harassers from several years ago was a detective in one of these units. Someone I didn’t even know. I just have seen too often where an officer gets serious complaints and they transfer or promote him into a special unit.

  2. Hello there!

    Thank you for blowing the trumpet about this case.

    Is it true that it happened TWO YEARS AGO? I was reading that online yesterday but the blogs are reporting on it as though it just appeared in the Galveston paper and just occured this week.

    Please clarify the date of this incident.

    It doesn’t matter if it was two years ago, however, I am mentioning it because I wonder what has occurred in that time period and how many more Dymonds have been gang-whipped by police who got away with it.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
    Lisa

  3. 3
    Myca says:

    what some blog posts I’ve read have missed is, she was also targeted for being black while outdoors.

    This is especially true considering that the prostitutes the police had been called for were white.

    They get called out for a white prostitute several blocks away and end up assaulting a black 12-year old honor student. That’s the way law enforcement in America works.

    —Myca

  4. 4
    Dianne says:

    And Galveston’s a pretty bad department but it’s not the only one like this.

    Not even close. When I was growing up in Dallas (some 30 years ago), we were taught to be very, very cautious of the police and stay away from them unless it was a dire emergency. And I was an ostensibly white, middle class kid growing up in a mostly white middle class neighborhood*. In other words, even the people who are generally most trusting of the police weren’t so sure that the police were safe to approach. Of course, they weren’t. A friend of my father’s called the police after his restaurant was burglarized. The police came and started looking around. My father’s friend also stayed and at one point wandered out to the front of the building, where two police were waiting. They shot him, fatally. Makes you think that maybe the best thing to do is to forget it when a burglary occurs.

    *Just in case it isn’t clear, I do NOT mean that everything would be ok if only poor people or minorities were afraid of the police. Just that (in the US in the late 20th century) when white, middle class people don’t trust the police then no one does…it’s a measure of how far gone they are, not a suggestion that it is somehow worse to scare white people than anyone else.

  5. 5
    Dianne says:

    They get called out for a white prostitute several blocks away and end up assaulting a black 12-year old honor student.

    Yeah, let’s count the ways that they were stupid as well as evil:

    1. They couldn’t tell a 12 year old kid from an adult.
    2. They were looking for a white woman and ended up “arresting” a black girl.
    3. They couldn’t tell the difference between a woman loitering on the street looking for men to proposition from a girl busily engaged in flipping a blown fuse.
    4. They were too dumb to actually identify themselves as police. Or maybe they deliberately didn’t identify themselves because they were hoping for an excuse to beat their victim up?

    In short, does Galveston require its police to undergo a lobectomy at the same time that they get their ethics-ectomy?

  6. 6
    Myca says:

    Yeah, let’s count the ways that they were stupid as well as evil:

    5. Rather than thanking their lucky stars and the God of Brutal, Racist Cops that the national media hadn’t picked up the story and praying for it to go away quietly, they actually had the audacity to charge this poor girl with assaulting an officer, thus bringing the whole mess to public scrutiny. It’s like they couldn’t resist adding insult to injury, even when it would have been in their own best interests to do so.

    —Myca

  7. 7
    Radfem says:

    5. Rather than thanking their lucky stars and the God of Brutal, Racist Cops that the national media hadn’t picked up the story and praying for it to go away quietly, they actually had the audacity to charge this poor girl with assaulting an officer, thus bringing the whole mess to public scrutiny. It’s like they couldn’t resist adding insult to injury, even when it would have been in their own best interests to do so.

    The “contempt of cop” thing unfortunately is very popular tactic to cover tracks. The triad of charges usually being, resisting arrest, battery of a police officer and disorderly conduct.

  8. 8
    Falstaff says:

    This story makes me angry for all the reasons stated in Amp’s post and Jeff’s, and in the comments of both posts (we are an articulate lot here at Alas, I think). What was done to Dymond Milburn is a travesty, and the men who did it should, at minimum, have lost their jobs. That they haven’t, that some fool in the prosecutor’s office actually signed off on charging this kid and her father with a crime,, is… well, it’s enraging; I don’t really have the words.

    But this story also makes me angry when I think of my father, who was a police officer for nearly thirty-five years. He had — indeed, still has — nothing but contempt for cops like this, and while obviously my rage on behalf of Dymond Milburn and her dad is paramount, I can’t help thinking of my dad, my godfather, my uncle and cousin, and the men and women like them who aren’t assholes, but serve their communities as police anyway.

    I just wish it had been them on that street that day and not the three… humans… that were.

  9. 9
    Decnavda says:

    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.

    Isn’t there some probable violation of federal criminal civil rights law here that could (and should) be investigated by a less politicized Justice Department, like the one we will hopefully have in 5 weeks? Even if we ignore the racism, which probably did factor in and would therefore definitely be a federal criminal violation but which is very difficult to prove to a necessary criminal standard, not identifying themselves as cops before or during the “arrest” would have to violate some federal law, would it not? At the very least, the officers were not giving the girl a Miranda warning, and the whole *point* of a Miranda warning is that criminal suspects need to be given the knowledge necessary to protect their civil rights. Knowing that the people grabbing you are cops would seem to such necessary knowledge.

  10. 10
    TheBlackCritic says:

    It’s rare to hear something being said as bluntly as it may need to be said:

    How To Beat Down Black Women & Get Away With It

    “Beating down Black women is the perfect pass-time hobby because there are no real consequences. The worst that can happen to you is a few weeks of paid suspension. You don’t even have to worry about some gang of vigilante Black dudes seeking out revenge. They are mostly cowards masquerading as men.”

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    BlackWomanBlowTheTrumpet, Radley Balko said about why this story is coming out now:

    The incident happened in August 2006. The lawsuit was filed in August of this year. Milburn’s attorney tipped off Houston Press reporter Chris Vogel, who wrote about the case yesterday.

    So it seems that blogs are just picking up on this now because there was a story in a major newspaper earlier this week.

  12. Pingback: Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » Life notes as of Jan. 1

  13. 12
    libhomo says:

    The Galveston police are acting like the NYPD.