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?