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May 08 2014

Hey, at least she won’t get any lashes

Michelle Goldberg reported last month on the trial of Cecily McMillan.

Two years ago, a young activist named Cecily McMillan attended a protest at Zuccotti Park marking the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. When police moved in to clear the demonstrators, a cop roughly grabbed her breast—photos show an ugly bruise—and she ended up being injured so badly that she had a seizure and ended up in the hospital. In a just world, she would be getting restitution from the City. Instead, in a grotesque act of prosecutorial overreach, she’s currently on trial for assault and facing up to seven years in prison.

According to prosecutors, McMillan, now 25, intentionally attacked her arresting officer, Grantley Bovel, by elbowing him in the face, and was then hurt when he tried to subdue her. She says that she instinctively struck out when she felt his hand on her breast, not knowing that he was a cop, and was then further assaulted.

Why should we believe her instead of the prosecutors? Well there’s this hand-shaped bruise on her breast, documented in pictures…

In her opening argument last week, assistant district attorney Erin Choi tried to use McMillan’s outcry during the arrest against her. Choi quoted McMillan asking onlookers, “Are you filming this? Are you filming this?” Choi’s implication was that McMillan didn’t want her premeditated attack on tape. But anyone who has ever covered a protest knows that this is what demonstrators say when they feel they’re being mistreated—it’s a call for documentation, not for turning the cameras off.

She was convicted on Monday, and could be sentenced to 7 years in prison.

The Guardian – which, Goldberg says, has been covering the case closely – reports today that the jurors have petitioned the judge not to sentence her to prison.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that several jurors, who were barred from researching the trial while it was happening, were shocked to discover that McMillan could receive a substantial prison term when they searched for details online, minutes after being dismissed.

“They felt bad,” said one juror, who did not wish to be named. “Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service. But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.”

Let’s not try to rival Saudi Arabia, shall we?

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Francisco Bacopa

    Maybe the judge will let her off for time served. But I doubt it. They have to hit Occupy hard even after the fact. Occupy Houston and Occupy Austin are are still dealing with federal terrorism charges related to the D12 Houston protest.

    I gotta say if McMillan is facing hard tie for elbowing a cop who grabbed her breast without knowing he was a cop it’s time to dox the cop who did this. Make his life hell. They already see themselves as a colonial occupying force. We can do no more damage to ourselves than they already do by hurting them.

    Gotta give my props to the Houston Police. The only physical contact I had was a gentle push to my back and a calm warning that I could not stand between parked cars during the Divestment March. And yes, things got heated at D12 and there was a little bit of horse trampling, but overall things were much better than the brutality we saw in New York and Oakland.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Some jurors should have realized that there is no way in hell that the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. WTF were they thinking?

  3. 3
    Blanche Quizno

    The cop in the McMillan case also has a history of violence, and as a witness, identified the *OTHER* eye as the one he’d supposedly been elbowed in, contradicting his own earlier testimony.

    Only carefully groomed evidence was presented to the jurors.

  4. 4
    Francisco Bacopa

    So where does this cop live? Where does his wife work? Where do his kids go to school? We can make his life a living hell if we want to .

  5. 5
    jaggington

    Francisco Bacopa #4

    WTF? How does harassing someone’s family make up for the wrongs that person may have done? His wife and his children are not possessions, they are people. How can you possibly think it is acceptable to lash out against such innocent people in the name of vengeance on someone you’ve never met?

  6. 6
    Philip Hansen

    @Francisco Bacopa #4 I’m joining Jaggington’s chorus: You’re off the fucking rails. Channel your frustration over this injustice into something more reasonable, unlike throwing people associated with him under the bus. Police brutality is a serious problem, but so is vigilante-activism that purports to serve justice, but is skewed in pursuit of vengeance.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    WHAT?!

    Francisco, that comment @ 4 is totally unacceptable. If I’d been around when you posted it I would have deleted it.

  8. 8
    gworroll

    f@2 –

    Some key evidence was excluded. Photos were shown to make McMillan look as bad as possible, requests to show different zoom levels were denied, this was one thing. I don’t recall much else as far as details from what I read a couple days ago, but basically- if it made her look innocent, it was excluded. The judge didn’t oversee a trial, he oversaw political theater. I can’t blame the jury for voting to convict, given what they were allowed to see, McMillan does kind of look guilty. I’d probably have been with them in conviction, and joined them in requesting leniency at sentencing. And I’d be furious with the judge for making me complicit in a show trial like this.

    On the trial that just wrapped up, probation and community service are too harsh. This should be appealed, if the state is adamant that she be punished, it’s time for a retrial in front of a judge that actually gives a shit about what his job is supposed to be for.

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