Occupy Protester Found Guilty Of Assaulting Police
Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old grad student, could face up to seven years in prison after being convicted of second-degree felony assault.By Zach Toombs | May 5, 2014
Supporters of Occupy Wall Street are outraged over the verdict in New York City's biggest criminal case to come out of the movement. (Via Flickr / Aaron Bauer)
That case ended Monday, when a protester was found guilty of assaulting a police officer during a 2012 demonstration. Cecily McMillan could now face up to seven years in prison. (Via The Village Voice)
McMillan, a 25-year-old grad student, is convicted of a second-degree felony assault for intentionally elbowing Officer Grantley Bovell in the face in March 2012 in Zuccotti Park, as police tried to break up an Occupy protest.
Prosecutors pointed to this video, zoomed far in from the original, as evidence of McMillan's assault. But the protester says what's not clear in the video is that she threw her elbow instinctively — (Via YouTube / RememberComeNovember)
— after Officer Bovell aggresively grabbed her breast. In this photo she shows bruising that she says came from that incident. (Via Twitter / @la_pajarita)
Reporters who were in the courtroom Monday say McMillan's supporters erupted after her guilty verdict came down, chanting "Shame, shame, shame." (Via WCBS)
But some supporters of the Occupy movement were less shocked by the verdict than they were by Judge Ronald Zweibel's restrictions on the information provided to the jury.
Jurors deciding McMillan's fate were not allowed any information on accusations of police brutality during the Zuccotti Park protest or at any other point during the Occupy movement. Judge Zweibel deemed that context irrelevant. (Via YouTube / BergenInc)
A writer for The Guardian says that was a mistake. "To the jury, the hundreds of police batons, helmets, fists, and flex cuffs out on March 17 were invisible – rendering McMillan's elbow the most powerful weapon on display in Zuccotti that night ... The breathtaking violence displayed by the NYPD throughout Occupy Wall Street has not only been normalized, but entirely justified – so much so that it doesn't even bear mentioning."
Unsurprisingly, the accounts from Bovell and McMillan differ. The officer says “I remember her saying to someone: ‘Are you filming this? Are you filming this?’" before elbowing him. (Via The New York Times)
McMillan refutes that, and her attorney referred to the photo of her bruised breast as "the smoking gun in the case."
Adding insult to injury for McMillan's supporters, Judge Zweibel ordered she be kept in custody without bail until she's given her sentence, which again could be up to seven years in prison.