Monday, January 12, 2009

12-Year old African American Girl, Dymond Milburn, Beaten By Police. And More Accounts Of State Funded Predators With Guns.

Outrage around the state funded murder of Oscar Grant III has gone beyond the Bay Area, and has also given more visibility to the reality of cops acting in arrogant, excessive, racist and often deadly ways to the people they are supposed to be protecting. (*for a heartful reportback on the Oscar Grant Protests/Riots, please see my previous post.)

I just found out from What About Our Daughters? via Erik Pukinskis' blog about this outrageous case in Galveston, Texas, where plain clothes cops looking for a white sex worker, identified a 12 year old black girl as their target, dragged her off of her stoop, gagged and beat her, shouting that she is "a prostitute". wtf. Her father was also arrested for trying to protect his daughter from maniacs is suits trying to drag his 12 year old daughter away while beating her and calling her a prostitute.

Dymond Milburn, from Galveston, Texas, was grabbed by three plain-clothed police officers out the front of her house and told, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me”, according to the lawsuit. After struggling with the men and screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”, the girl had her mouth covered and was struck in the face and throat, leaving her with black eyes and throat and ear drum injuries, her lawyer said.

The officers had been called to the area in relation to three white prostitutes nearby.

Dymond’s house was two blocks from the area the policemen were told to go to, and, as an African American 12-year-old girl, she did not fit the physical description of the suspects.

However, the officers reportedly believed she was a prostitute because of the “tight shorts” she was wearing. Three weeks later, police went to Dymond’s school and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Her father was also arrested. SOURCE

Insanity. And effed up for so many reasons. This is such a scary case of gendered profiling, where a 12 year old girl wearing "tight shorts" can get beaten by cops?!? It is also a disturbing account of how police treat sex workers. As if it would have been "ok" otherwise. And of course, it is frothing at the mouth rabid racism, to target a young black girl chillin on her stoop whilst looking for a white suspect-- and then have the audacity to go and arrest the girl and her father 3 weeks later for defending themselves from pathological power tripping morons.

Wish I could say that that was the last story, but there is more. On New Year's Eve in LA, Michael Cho was shot 10 times and killed while wielding a tire iron a good distance from the police. Why the cops chose to use lethal measures? Sounds like more racism and effed up aggro crap to me.

On New Year’s Eve, La Habra police shot and killed Michael Cho in a strip mall parking lot when he allegedly threatened officers with a tire iron.

The killing of the UCLA graduate and artist has set off criticism of police not heard in Southern California’s Korean American community since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when shop owners complained that officers never showed up to stop looters, and they picked up guns to defend their stores.

This time, community leaders say La Habra police were too quick on the trigger when responding to a vandalism call.

We haven’t seen this expression of shock, disbelief and sadness in the community before,” said Richard Choi Bertsch, of the Orange County Korean American Coalition. “All of the first-generation parents are saying, ‘This could’ve been my kid.’ ” Charles Kim, a La Habra resident and past national president of the Korean American Coalition, said that “the community’s mind is pretty much set that the police overreacted.”

The shooting has been widely followed in the Korean-language media. Korea Times reporter John Lee called it “one of the biggest stories” and said every new development is reported “as soon as it comes in.”

There was some anger. People posed challenging questions and wanted to know why police didn’t use nonlethal force,” Kennedy said. “They wanted to know why the young man was shot so many times, and how would [Kies] feel if it had been his son.” SOURCE

Meanwhile in Greece, people rioted for over a week because of the police shooting of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The latter link leads to a site that was organizing an international response. One blogger on the last thread even said that protestors in Greece are also in solidarity with Oakland.

What this says to me is that outrage around these events can be channeled into an international forum and response. Around the world, the urgent need for police reform and accountability is in the spotlight. In these times when Israeli military has slaughtered 900 Palestinian civilians, is using illegal incendiary chemical weapons like white phosphorous, and is thwarting medical supplies reaching the Gaza strip (go Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney!!)... Clearly there is a lot of consciousness and outrage around state funded and validated, occupying militarized forces wreaking havoc in marginalized communities. It was good to see people at the Oscar Grant Protest drawing lines between Gaza and Oakland, and indeed, solidarity is needed. (For more info about the Gaza situation... its all about Al-Jazeera people!)

Wanna close out this post with something I excerpted from an anonymous letter called "Don't Mourn, Organize". Personally, i think both are important things to do, but I hear the emphasis on not remaining inactive. This is in response to Oscar Grant III, Rest In Peace. And may he definitely rest in Justice too.

  1. The first thing we can do is to boycott BART. They said it will take two weeks to ‘get back to’ us around their internal investigation; therefore, we should take two weeks to get back to them. BOYCOT BART FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS!

  2. Demand BART, as part of a community restitution, help fund community based healing centers that focus on grief counseling, conflict resolution and restorative justice. Despite police brutality, much of the murder in Oakland is either black on black or brown on brown crime. We need healing around all of this.

  3. Organize city wide to begin to address local problems, form work cooperatives, and establish training programs in safe new technologies for employment and community development.

  4. Be safe and savvy. In this day of face recognition technology, young protesters should cover their faces. Law enforcement run photographs through DMV records and attempt to round people up. They may get charges but police then use that information as leverage to ‘turn’ young people into informants and spies.

  5. Beware of agent provocateurs. We learned in the 60s and 70s that often the one suggesting the most extreme acts of violence were actual police disguised as protesters to initiate acts that will get people in trouble so that the movement gets bogged down in legal troubles.

  6. Link up struggles. What is the relationship between Oscar Grant’s murder and the teenager killed by police in Athens, Greece? They are very similar and the response was similar because the capitalist, military style police strategy is the same. What is the relationship of Oakland’ struggle to Chiapas, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil? Are delegates representing Oscar Grant’s anti-police brutality movement going to the World Social Forum to explain to the progressive world their/our plight?

  7. Devise culturally sensitive training classes developed by professionals and the community to help eradicate racist assumptions, class stereotypes and immigrant fear among all police agencies in the Bay area. It should be mandatory for all law enforcement.

  8. Get involved with something now. Even though our new president’s focus is on re-stabilizing American capitalism, he was a community organizer and has encouraged everyone to ratchet up their social commitments and work in their communities. That dove tails perfectly with Oakland’s effort to become a ‘Model City’ and the call to participate. We must revive Oakland’s radical and progressive spirit. It is here, as evidenced by the face that Alameda County gave Obama his highest vote percentage in the nation, 79%. It is time this social awareness pay dividends to people directly represented by them doing something for themselves.

Rally for Justice for Oscar Grant
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
4:00pm - 7:00pm
Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA

5 comments: said...

Hello there Richard!

I am happy to see that a male blogger is covering the Dymond Milburn story. Gina broke this story and a lot of outrage ensued...outrage that really wasn't directed towards concrete actions. I think a lot of female bloggers react emotionally to these stories and then that's as far as it goes.

I have been reading many blog discussions about the murder of Oscar Grant.

Richard, I am deeply disturbed by these murders but I am also deeply disturbed that black men continue to put themselves in those situations...Oscar Grant did not deserve to die and I am not even implying that AT ALL...but the reason he was under arrest in the first place is because he and his crew were involved in a fight on the train!

There are other cases when a black man was gunned down who the police should not have even been speaking to at all.

I am not blaming the victim. I believe the incident was murder and it was a result of racism AND classism.

There are many instances when black men are killed during police altercations who were already breaking the law yet we turn them into martyrs after their deaths as if they died like Malcolm X.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

richard said...

hey Lisa,

I am glad to represent as a black male blogger talking about what happened to Dymond Milburn. From what i have seen from female bloggers, they have raised a lot of the same points i did too.

I am however, having my own emotional reaction to your statement around black men "putting themselves in these situations.", probably similar to the reaction you may have if i was lamenting Dymond Milburn wearing tight shorts on her stoop, "putting herself in that situation", but simultaneously saying that i wasn't blaming her. I know that you are saying it is not victim blaming, but what else can it be if you say Oscar Grant put himself in that situation? Or if you infer that since he wasn't a saint or Malcolm X, that perhaps we should pay less attention? This man's life was valuable, it does not need to be measured up against Malcolm X. Should we not pay attention to Dymond Milburn's experience and devalue it because she is not Angela Davis?

There was a scuffle on New Years Eve. No one deserved to die for that (which you agree to). But the focus should be on the cop who probably would not have treated post-NYE drunk brawling white men or women in the same way. The cop was probably drunk himself. in LA, Michael Cho actually had a weapon, but there was still no reason for armed and trained cops to kill him.

I am basically failing to see how this is a constructive, and helpful critique, Lisa. If we are going to discuss the role of wayward men, then i am inclined to focus on how cooperative Oscar Grant was being, and how excessive and violent the cop was.

Black men are killed by cops frequently. In this case, it happened to be executed in front of a full train, and then became the most recorded murder of a civillian by police in history. This will help movements to end police brutality from this point on. That is something Oscar Grant III, some mother's son, paid the ultimate price for. Let us use that reality wisely and with respect.


sorcha sometimes said...

Great post, thank you for making the connection to the Greek riots. These things should be front page news, but (at least outside of Oakland) you really have to go looking for information on it. they’ve hardly covered it out here in los angeles. Thank you for posting these stories I would have otherwise not heard about.

richard said...

thanks again, sorcha sometimes! i also wouldn't have known about these cases if not for the on point people in the blogosphere. has the Michael Cho story already faded away in LA?

richard said...

Lisa: i hope that you are able to receive my response knowing that i still respect that you are always providing perspectives that stimulate good discussions. blessings!