When her mother and father came outside after hearing her cries for help she was desperately holding a tree with one arm while plainclothes officers were beating her in the head, neck and throat.
Dymond Milburn, now 20-years-old, was an honor student attending advanced classes at Austin Middle School, when her life would be forever scarred by Galveston police.
On the night of August 22, 2006 at 7:45 PM, Emily Milburn was preparing her children for school the next day, when a breaker broke, cutting off electricity to the family’s home. Emily asked her daughter, Dymond, to go outside and hit the switch, located downstairs and outside the house.
When Dymond went outside the house toward the breaker box, a blue van drove up to the house and three men jumped out and start attacking her. One of the men grabbed Dymond and said “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.”
Like anyone in their right mind would, Dymond resisted being pulled into a van with complete strangers. Dymond grabbed a tree and started yelling “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.”
Officer David Roark had his hand over the mouth of Milburn when her father came out on the balcony after hearing his daughter’s cries for help. The other officers, Justin Popovich and Sean Stewart, beat Dymond’s face, head and throat while their supervisor, Sgt. Gilbert Gomez, watched on in approval.
Dymond’s parents approached the cops and said “That’s our daughter. She’s twelve.” Roark responded “I don’t care if she’s twenty-two, thirty-two, or forty-six.”
The cops dragged Dymond into the van. Obviously they were now well aware that the kidnapping they had intended had gone wrong, so they decided to drop Dymond off at a hospital.
The examining physician found that the girl had injuries from multiple blows to the head, face, neck, lower back, left shoulder, and left hip/waist area. She suffered a contusion to the back of the head (where she was struck with a flashlight). There were abrasions on her arm and wrist. Dymond’s throat was swollen; she had difficulty swallowing, nausea and vomiting, and hoarseness of voice due to being struck in the throat. She had black eyes, scalp lacerations, tenderness of the vertebrae. She was experiencing double vision and loss of hearing. Dymond’s ear drum and nose were also injured (blood in ear, bruised nasal septum, and nose bleed).
After the attack, Dymond suffered from PTSD, nightmares, and an inability to concentrate in school.
When she finally healed enough (physically) to return to school a horrible surprise was waiting for her. Police showed up to Austin Middle School and arrested Dymond for resisting and assaulting a peace officer. A twelve year old girl!
In a blatant disregard of logic and common sense, the court system in Galveston felt these charges were justified and Milburn was actually charged with assault on an officer and tried, twice! After three years and two mistrials, the DA finally dropped her case.
Immediately after her criminal trials, the family filed a civil suit, naming the four officers as plaintiffs. After multiple appeals by officers, including asking the court to dismiss the case based upon qualified immunity, meaning that the officers were just doing their job and are thereby shielded from civil liability, a settlement has yet to have been reached.
None of the officers were fired. In fact Gomez went on to work for the department up until 2012 when he started his own private detective services. 2 years after he beat a 12 year-old girl to the point of hospitalization, Officer Sean Stewart was named Galveston “Officer of the year”!
This story is one of the most brutal examples of a failed justice system. Unfortunately, the state has learned nothing from it.
Just this past Thursday, Danièle Watts, star of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, wrote on her Facebook page that she was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police cruiser after failing to provide officers with ID.
The reason for the kidnapping….cops assumed she was a prostitute. She had done absolutely nothing wrong.
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