Police assault 12-year-old girl after mistaking her for a prostitute
Andrew McLemore
Published: Friday December 19, 2008

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A girl's family has filed a lawsuit against Galveston police for their assault on their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute.

As the girl, Dymond Milburn, walked in her front yard, three men jumped out of a van and beat her about the face and throat, one of them telling her, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Police attacked Milburn despite the fact that she didn't fit the racial description of their suspects: three white prostitutes and a black drug dealer.

Three weeks after Milburn was hospitalized for her injuries, police went to her school and arrested her for assaulting an officer during the incident.

The incident occurred two years ago, and since then, Milburn has suffered behavioral problems, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The lawsuit against the officers also alleges that the men thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker because of the "tight shorts" she was wearing. Police have not yet apologized for the incident.

The case has gone to trial, but the judge declared a mistrial the first day and a new trial is set for February.

"I think we'll be okay," said Anthony Griffin, Milburn's attorney. "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."

The officers' lawyer, William Helfand, said Milburn's father had also been arrested for attacking the officers after his daughter called for him when the police attacked her. Helfand said both would face consequences for their actions.

"It’s unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them. And the evidence will show that both these folks violated the law and forcefully resisted arrest," Helfand said.

One blogger defended the story from accusations that it was a hoax because it has not been picked up by the national media and many of the facts come from the Milburn's attorney.

But the blogger points out that neither the Galveston police department nor the Galveston district attorney’s office have responded to inquiries about the case.

As for the mainstream press, he asks. "Why don’t 90 percent of the abuses of power we look at on this site get covered by the national media?"