GALVESTON, Texas — A Galveston couple has filed a federal lawsuit against three police officers who they say arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute, according to newspaper report.
Wilfred and Emily Milburn, the parents of Dymond Larae Milburn, are asking for unspecified damages for physical injuries and emotional problems, which they say have included nightmares.
Sgt. Gilbert Gomez and Officers David Roark and Sean Stewart have filed documents saying their conduct was reasonable in light of the facts they had at the time, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday in its online story.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Galveston, Dymond Larae Milburn went outside her home to flip a circuit breaker at about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2006.
Responding to a call that three white prostitutes were soliciting in the neighborhood, the plainclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked van on Gomez's orders and one of them grabbed the girl, who is black, the lawsuit states.
The girl contends that the officers did not identify themselves as police and that the officer who grabbed her, later identified as Roark, told her, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."
Her parents heard her cries for help and came outside to see the hysterical girl hanging on to a tree and screaming "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" while two officers hit her about the head, face and throat, the family alleges.
Two hours later, she was examined at the University of Texas Medical Branch emergency room and doctors found she had a sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose and blood in an ear, according to the lawsuit.
Weeks later, she was arrested during classes at Austin Middle School, where she was an honors student, the lawsuit states. She was tried a year later on a charge of resisting arrest, but the judge declared a mistrial on the first day, according to the lawsuit.
The reason for the mistrial was not immediately available Tuesday.
The case could go to trial in late 2009 or 2010.