For reasons I cannot fathom - other than reasons originating from the most vile places of the human heart - it has taken two trials and three years for officials in Galveston, Texas to realize the near-lethal mistake made when un-uniformed police beat up a 12 year old girl in her front yard.
She had gone into her yard around 8 pm at her mother's request. A breaker had tripped and the breaker box was outside, so the daughter was sent out to reset it. Four police officers in an unmarked van had been told that reports had been made that three white female prostitutes were working in the area and selling drugs. Though the officers were several blocks away from where the incident was reported, they sighted young Dymond Milburn, who is black, in her yard and immediately swarmed out of the van and rushed at the child.
Terrified, she ran to hide under a bush outside her home, screaming for help from her father. Police beat the child severely, blacking both eyes, choking her and beating on her ears, using a flashlight and also allegedly threatening to shoot (or "arrest") her puppy if she did not come with them. Her father ran out to the scene, seeing grown men assaulting his daughter -- men not in anyway dressed as police or identifying themselves as such. (Prosecutors refuted those claims.) He fought these strangers on his lawn allowing his daughter to flee as best she could. Ultimately, Milburn was hospitalized for her injuries.
Three weeks later, police arrived at her school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a police officer.
On the first day of the trial against her in 2007, the judge declared a mistrial and reset the case.
Yesterday, after some eight hours of deliberation, the jury reported they were hopelessly deadlocked. The judge declared a mistrial as five jurors were adamant the child was not guilty of any crime. Prosecutors now say they will not attempt to try the case again.
Background on the case here and here, from the first trial, where an officer lied on the stand to implicate Mr. Milburn was a drug dealer.
A civil lawsuit filed against the officers in the case. (See also BoingBoing)