12-Year Old Girl Arrested for Resisting "Arrest"

[Trigger warning.]

by Shaker Sunless Nick

This...there are no adjectives that describe this. A 12 year old girl—Dymond Milburn—is attacked* and beaten in her front yard by three men who turn out to be plainclothed police officers, responding to a report about three prostitutes in the area. She's hospitalised, and then arrested for assaulting a public servant and resisting arrest.

* Despite ending up in hospital, the attack is still apparently "alleged."

Icing on the cake? They went to the wrong house; the suspects they were seeking were white, and Dymond was black. Yet somehow, they still thought she must be one of them, because she was wearing "tight shorts." Here's how they went about it:
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.
See, to my mind, that's not an arrest, that's a fucking kidnapping. There's no indication that they identified themselves a police officers—or gave this girl, or her father, any reason to suppose that this was anything but a violent abduction—yet she is arrested for defending herself, and he is arrested for defending her. The Milburns are due before the court in February.

In the meantime, they are suing the officers; the officers' lawyer says this:
Also, "The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances," Helfand says. "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."
And is it me, or does the corruption just drip off this speech? First, like I said, this was a kidnapping, not an arrest—the Milburns resisted kidnapping at the hands of three violent thugs—three cowardly thugs, who felt so threatened by a 12-year old, that they chose to beat her into hospitalisation. Second, the officers were supposed to be looking for white women—there is no conceivable way they could have legitimately concluded that Dymond Milburn was one of their suspects.

The sexism's obvious here: She's wearing tight shorts, so she must be a prostitute? The racism's obvious: When would the police ever arrest a white person on suspicion of being a black suspect; and when would the city ever uphold their conduct in doing so? But there's a third prejudice at play here—the suspects the officers were looking for were (or might have been) prostitutes, who had been soliciting—nothing violent, nothing dangerous. Yet they found it legitimate to attack the girl they had concluded was one of them, beating her and covering her mouth. What other nonviolent crime would ever be responded to in such a violent fashion; or such a response defended so callously?

In the officers' minds, Dymond was a girl who dared to wear tight clothes, so she had to be a slut, and she was black slut, so she had to be a prostitute, and she was a prostitute, so she had to be violently broken down. In the department's mind? The same damn thing, or how the fuck else could they believe the officers acted justifiably?

I wish the Milburns complete success on both their days in court.

More on this at Feministe, and Womanist Musings.

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