Mistrial declared in 12-year-old girl's alleged assault on police officer

In Galveston, a jury of six people couldn't agree on whether or not 12-year-old Dymond Milburn assaulted one of four Galveston police officers who allegedly beat her up and sent her to the hospital. Five jurors thought she didn't assault the officers and one juror thought she did. This is the second time the case has resulted in a mistrial. Prosecutors said they won't retry the case.

Interesting discrepancy:

According to the civil lawsuit filed against the officers, "The van they were traveling in was unmarked and the officers were not in uniform. The officers did not identify themselves as police."

But according to the Galveston County Daily News, "Prosecutors Veronique Cantrell-Avloes and Ella Anderson told jurors Milburn knew the men were officers, because they wore badges and had 'police' displayed on their shirts. 'Not only did they have police all over them, but when she yelled, ‘F--- you. I hate the police,’ you probably know you’re dealing with the police.'

Mistrial declared in 12-year-old girl's alleged assault on police officer

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  1. Five jurors thought she didn’t assault the officers and one juror thought she did.

    and the skin color of the one juror who thought she did, was????

    Bueler?

  2. I would like to point out what some commenters might miss, that there is no reason to suppose, just because it is claimed these people were police officers, that is no reason to assume they did *not* in fact intend to abduct her, rape her, and possibly even worse.

  3. I’m sorry, but in what world is it even possible for a 12-year-old girl to assault police officers??? It’s so completely ridiculous that I don’t know what to say.

    Those fuckers need to be fired, and they need to go to jail. Right now. They put a girl in the hospital, they have no right to be walking around in public, with the rest of society.

  4. Once upon a time, a police officer would have ignored any kicking or struggling from a 12 year old they were arresting (leaving aside whether the arrest is warranted).

    Now they feel the need to charge her with SOMETHING. Presumably this is all to justify arresting her in the first place. If your initial charge is baseless, get them with assault and resisting arrest!

  5. i think the obvious question that has not yet been raised is, how grotesquely large and ripped was this 12-year old alleged prostitot that it took four police officers to take her on?

  6. It should not be possible to prosecute an unarmed minor for the assault of a police officer during an arrest. Period.

    If two armed police officers can’t deal with a twelve-year-old then they should be fired.

  7. If four policemen can be “assaulted” by a frightened 12 year old girl, they oughtta be fired for incompetence.

  8. Again, I always thought you could do anything you wanted to defend yourself against wrongful arrest on your own property. The cops had neither a warrant nor probable cause- the girl should have been able to fight them off with a chainsaw and gotten away with it.

  9. um…‘F— you. I hate the police’ … that sounds about the most fake comment Ive heard from a prosecuter trying to inflate her case.
    That would be like a car hits you & you say “omg a car is hitting me I hate cars”
    People arent making declarative statements when about to get beat down.

  10. The cops had neither a warrant nor probable cause- the girl should have been able to fight them off with a chainsaw and gotten away with it.

    And that goes DOUBLE in Texas.

  11. I’m certainly willing to give the benefit of the doubt and will wait and hope the truth eventually wins out in this case.

    According to the officers involved in the case she said “Fuck you. I hate the police.” So she must have known they were police.

    Now, I’ve never heard of an officer of the law lying bu…wait…

    …nevermind.

  12. Yes, to #10’s point – what is she, a skinhead from the 70s? This is silly. It’s hard to understand what the point of highlighting this discrepancy is – the overwhelming issue here is the abuse of police authority.

    Fired? Jailed more like – these are dangerous, menacing people, wasting police time and taxpayers’ money on frivolous activities.

    Does that sit comfortably with the good citizens of Galveston? Or will they wait until a child is assaulted inside the van, out of sight?

    12 years old, badge, no badge – even if she WERE to be engaging in illicit behaviour, she needs help, not arrest.

    I’m so annoyed by this.

  13. Given the delay in the arrest, going to the school after the incident, and the prosecuter’s two attempts at this I wonder if the states efforts were all just desperate ploys to mitigate the civil suit. They had to know they were going to get their asses sued the moment they realized what they had done and then, I suspect, immediately started to look for ways out – and some genius probably said, hey if we can prosecute her for something and maybe even win she will lose credibility in court for the lawsuit.

    I hope they all get destroyed in the civil suit and somehow end up in jail.

  14. It’d be nice if there was a federal organization that just investigated police. It’d cut back on the covering your own back stuff. If it’s true that it is only a few bad apples, it’d do a lot to clean up the respect of police all over the US.

  15. Any reasonable person would hate the Galveston police, if this is how they act.

    I have no doubt they lied about when she made the remark that supposedly showed she knew they were police.

    This was at night, right? Were their shirts with “POLICE” on them clearly visible?

    And I agree with Anonymous at #2: why on Earth would a girl in Galveston, especially an African American girl, trust the police not to kidnap and rape her?

  16. GORNZILLA said:

    It’d be nice if there was a federal organization that just investigated police. It’d cut back on the covering your own back stuff.

    I think if there were a federal “watchdog-type organization (FBI, DoJ, whatever), the CYA activities of the local and state police would increase, not decrease. As it is right now, they only have to involve themselves in CYA activities if their buddies (that the went through the academy with, served for a few years with, etc. before they went into IA) in the department won’t give them a pass…

    While I’m for oversight, I think the net effect would be more “pile-on” charges to cover up problems in the initial complaint…

  17. More from the Police News article:

    Testimony in court revealed that the girls mother shouted to her at least three times, “It’s the police honey, calm down,” but the girl continued fighting the officers.

    Is that what you’d say to your daughter who had been screaming “I hate the police!” just prior, while clinging to a tree while four officers gave her a beat down? She shouted this? That would go something like this: IT’S THE POLICE, HONEY!!! CALM DOWN!!!

    Methinks they went a little overboard on the CYA on this one. Interesting that they don’t say whose testimony revealed this. I’ll bet it wasn’t the mother’s. I wish this were an isolated incident of an NWA song being used as a cop excuse…

  18. The most disgusting thing?

    It’s not the idiot cops.

    It’s that the city government, prosecuter, mayor, etc, got behind the attempt of trying to convict an innocent 12 year old girl and possibly send her to jail so that they could avoid a civil lawsuit settlement.

  19. They were identified as police.
    They weren’t identified as police.
    She got her injuries from a police flashlight.
    She got her injuries from hanging onto a tree.
    She got her injuries from hanging onto a bush.
    She got her injuries from hitting an electrical box.
    She was trying to hide drugs in an electrical box.
    She was trying to reset the circuit.
    She was in her yard.
    She was on the curb.

    The only thing that seems certain is that the police had no probable cause, no business, going on this property and trying to detain this girl.

  20. Can somebody with more legal insight than me comment on whether receiving a mistrial declaration rather than a not guilty verdict has any effect on her right to countersue the police department?

  21. @21…

    Interesting that they don’t say whose testimony revealed this. I’ll bet it wasn’t the mother’s.

    Anybody know if the court transcripts are available? Anybody local who could go down and order/pickup transcripts? I’d paypal over a few bucks to help cover cost.

  22. I wonder if you can find 10 righteous people in Galveston?

    I bet you can, actually. Just not in political office.

  23. Well, Greg, of course that’s not why. It’s because this uppity little N-word B-word did not respect theyah ah-thaw-ih-tay.

  24. “I wonder if the states efforts were all just desperate ploys to mitigate the civil suit.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head.

  25. Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin’
    I still see her dark eyes glowin’
    She was 21 when I left Galveston

    Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea waves crashing
    While I watch the cannons flashing
    I clean my gun and dream of Galveston

    I still see her standing by the water
    Standing there lookin’ out to sea
    And is she waiting there for me?
    On the beach where we used to run

    Galveston, oh Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
    Before I dry the tears she’s crying
    Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
    At Galveston, at Galveston

    -Glen Campbell

    I was gonna alter the lyrics, but then I found I didn’t have to.

  26. Mitigate the lawsuit, or intimidate her into dropping it. They’ll probably try to “plea-bargain” her to time served and dropping the lawsuit.

    I want them to go to prison. Gen pop, maximum security TEXAS prison, with “POLICE” tattooed on their chests.

  27. Can somebody with more legal insight than me comment on whether receiving a mistrial declaration rather than a not guilty verdict has any effect on her right to countersue the police department?

    5000! – It’s been almost a decade since i’ve handled a section 1983 civil rights case, but the fact that it was a mistrial rather than a finding of not guilty should not interfere with the girl’s ability to sue for false arrest and malicious prosecution. Even with a guilty verdict, it wouldn’t interfere her ability to bring an excessive force claim.

    Where the mistrial with a hung jury could cause some problems is that I would assume whoever is defending the police officers will use the two hung juries to show that reasonable people could disagree as to whether the officers acted properly or not. This could bolster a qualified immunity defense on the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. Particularly since in a civil case, the standard isn’t “beyond a reasonable doubt” it a 51% likelihood.

    I think they’re going to have a hard time defending the excessive force claim unless the girl is extremely big for her age. It’s possible the city attorneys were simply waiting to see what the outcome of the criminal trial would be (or that the civil suit was stayed pending the outcome of the criminal trial given that usually depositions are taken, and with the trial pending, the plaintiff in this case could legitimately refuse to respond to any form of discovery by claiming 5th amendment rights) and will now throw money at her.

  28. Whether she knew they were police or not is irrelevant. Cops are without warrants or probable cause (and I would say that being African American means that you are “probably” not white) are just kidnappers for the state. If cops tried to detain me (at 35 years old) without due process and while beating on me, I would be scared sh*tless and resist too.

  29. “I hope they all get destroyed in the civil suit and somehow end up in jail.”

    By definition a civil suit cannot result in jail-time.

  30. “I hope they all get destroyed in the civil suit and somehow end up in jail.”

    By definition a civil suit cannot result in jail-time.

  31. Simon: I think that was included in the “somehow” part.

    And how come people never make movies based on stories like this one? Always from the other side, “Not Without My Anus,” CSI and such.

  32. I think it’s obvious that these officers suspected that the 12-year-old girl was really River Tam and having watched Serenity recently, realized how dangerous she is.

  33. this shit turns my stomach! glad the prosecuter finally dropped it, but we will see. i am still waiting to find out if any of the tallahassee shitflingers,errr, cops, were ever punished for the death of the young girl ( i think her name was rachel) they tricked into doing the coke deal which led to her death. she was white, but even there the media ignores it . or the tampa cops who dumped the paraplegic. fascist bastards.

  34. CDALEK: per the article linked to yesterday, the first mistrial occurred when Officer Rourke started lying in an effort to smear her father’s character on the stand.

    The judge halted his testimony and was forced to declare a mistrial.

  35. That should have been a mistrial with prejudice.

    MinT, where did you hear that the prosecutor dropped the case? Second mistrial doesn’t mean he can’t try a third time. The state can keep going until the family runs out of money.

  36. Why can’t cops be held in contempt of court? Wasn’t he breaking not only the oath on the stand, but the oath to serve and protect?

    Anon@43: Any idea why it was reported that it was a mistrial based on one “holdout juror”?

    Xopher: The article I linked earlier stated the above and that “District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk… commented the state probably will not retry the case a third time.

  37. Phikus, I missed that. Thanks. Good to know.

    They “found” two bags of drugs in the yard, huh? I wonder where they got them.

  38. Xopher: It also says on in the article linked (3rd down in the post…)

    Quintanilla declared a mistrial in the case, and Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said that, based on discussions with jurors after trial, the state won’t prosecute the case again.

  39. Xopher: What self-respecting Texas cop doesn’t have at least one throw-down firearm and bag of “drugs.” with them at all times. It makes their jobs so much easier. ;(

  40. Phikus: exactly so. And that prosecutor said this:

    “And based on what this jury had to say, there is no reason to expect that the outcome would be any different than another split decision.”

    Bullshit, you asshole. Five to one for Not True? You know damn well the probability was for acquittal if you tried it again. Next time there’s a hurricane there, go to the beach, OK?

    (That’s me apostrophizing the doopayash prosecutor, not insulting Phikus, in case it wasn’t 100% clear.)

  41. Xophor, speaking from a purely probabilistic standpoint, a retrial could be another hung jury. Basically put, if 5-1 is what to expect on average, and each juror has x chance of flipping, you’d have to get exactly and only 1 flip of the specific guilty saying juror.
    On the other hand, if 1 person after who knows how long still thought she was guilty, I smell a rat of some breed in this.

  42. really, Shaner?

    “GALVESTON, Texas (CNN) — Jurors who on Tuesday acquitted eccentric New York millionaire Robert Durst in the killing of his 71-year-old neighbor, Morris Black, said they had to put aside the defendant’s admission he dismembered Black’s body and then fled because it was not part of the question they were told to decide.

    Durst remained in jail following Tuesday’s not guilty verdict in his murder trial because he still faces a bail jumping charge.”

    BWAHAHAHAH!

  43. The 2nd trial = 5:1 = holdout juror

    The 1st trial (from this article): “The state’s first attempt to try Dymond ended in a mistrial Oct. 3, 2007, based on a witnesses’ statement to the jury, which never had a chance to deliberate, Griffin said.”

  44. The Firesign Theatre said it best:

    (sfx three different male voices)”POLICE STATE, POLICE STATE, POLICE STATE!”

    sfx frightened female voice) “Help! It’s the Police!”

  45. Anon@55: Thanks for the HP article, which details her injuries in a bit more detail:

    Finally, Griffin says that Milburn, who was hospitalized and suffered a bloody nose, a pair of black eyes and a sprained wrist, could not have retaliated the way Roark described.
    “She couldn’t do it,” says Griffin, “because she was holding on to a tree and pictures show she had marks on her neck, you know she couldn’t be being choked and slapping at the same time holding onto the tree.”

    Yeah, clearly the tree and the electrical box did this to the 12 year old girl by themselves. It had nothing to do with the 4 cops “arresting” her.

  46. @22

    “The most disgusting thing?

    It’s not the idiot cops.

    It’s that the city government, prosecuter, mayor, etc, got behind the attempt of trying to convict an innocent 12 year old girl and possibly send her to jail so that they could avoid a civil lawsuit settlement.”

    Sounds an awful lot like an anti-governmental conspiracy theory, Greg. You paranoid kook, you.

  47. I think it’s pretty clear their intentions were to harm her in some way – rape or worse. They thought they could get away with it, as they thought she was a prostitute. Then in a panic, they proceeded to harass her family with the justice system. The Galveston County DAs Kurt Sistrunk and Joel Bennett covered themselves in shame by putting this young girl for two trials.

    Regarding the trial where 1 jury voted not to acquit: There was a large uniformed officer presence in the courtroom, staring down the jury. This should never have been allowed, and is a civil rights violation.

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