OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Gets 90 Days and Probation for Assaulting Cop

Martin-Stolar-Cecily-Sentencing-ZachDRoberts-.jpg
Photo by Zach D. Roberts
McMillan's attorney Martin Stolar addresses her supporters after the sentencing Monday.
Two weeks after a jury found her guilty of assaulting a police officer during a March 2012 Occupy Wall Street demonstration, Judge Ronald Zweibel has sentenced Cecily McMillan to 90 days in jail with time served and time off for good behavior, plus five years probation. She'll finish out her sentence at Rikers, where she's been housed since being convicted on Monday, May 5. She's also required to undergo unspecified mental health evaluation and treatment.

The sentence was essentially exactly what the prosecution requested today, minus 5-- hours of community service and a $5,000 fine they had also asked that McMillan be required to pay. Assistant District Attorney Erin Choi, the lead prosecutor on the case, is out on maternity leave. Taking her place, ADA Shanda Strain told the judge that not only had McMillan "intentionally assaulted" Officer Grantley Bovell, but "she falsely assaulted his character both inside and outside this courtroom."

Strain argued that any sentence would have to serve as "an appropriate deterrent" against anyone who would assault a police officer. McMillan, she said, rejected a plea deal and "sought to turn this courtroom into a platform to advance her personal interests." The trial was not, she said, "a referendum on a large social cause or movement."

She accused McMillan, too, of spreading "a campaign of falsehoods to avoid responsibility for her actions, the most egregious of which was, two years later, that Officer Bovell grabbed her breast." Strain called that "a fabrication clearly designed to manipulate the system," and said it "undermined the claims of genuine assault victims." She said McMillan needed counseling to deal with her "anger issues."

Defense attorney Martin Stolar previously provided the judge with hundreds of letters of support of McMillan's behalf, along with a Change.org petition that has garnered over 169,000 signatures. He asked the judge to "take into consideration the injures Ms. McMillan suffered," injuries, he said, "that will probably last her the rest of her life." (Medical records introduced at trial show that McMillan has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.)

Stolar also rejected Strain's claims that McMillan had deliberately used the trial to get famous. "She has no desire to be a martyr," he told the judge. "She does not like being in jail and she does not want to go back to jail."

McMillan spoke next. Clad in a pink sheath dress and almost entirely invisible behind a wall of more than 50 court security officers, she told the judge she was "exhausted."

"I have spent 35 of the 42 months I've been in New York trying to convince this court of my innocence," she said. "I have lost friends and family, school and work, and, most recently, my freedom. I have been exhausted of nearly everything that makes me, me, except, that is, my dignity. As a young girl my mother told me, 'Cecy, everything you see, your home, your loved ones, even your life, can be taken from you at will. But no one can strip you of your dignity without your consent." I don't think I knew what dignity was then, but I did understand that it was deliberate, something you had to define for yourself."

McMillan also re-asserted her commitment to non-violence: "This being the law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of. And as I stand before you today, I cannot confess to a crime I did not commit; I cannot do away with my dignity in hopes that you will return me my freedom."

However, she added, "I am required to acknowledge the unintentional harm I caused another." She said she was "truly sorry" for Bovell's injuries, and asked the judge, "I ask you to halt the violence here. Consider my words as I ask you not to perpetuate one injury with another." (McMillan's full sentencing statement can be read here.)

Before imposing his sentence, Zweibel said he thought McMillan was "capable of making a positive contribution to society." As soon as he issued the sentence, court officers started clearing a subdued, mostly quiet crowd of McMillan's supporters from the room. A few, as they left, broke into a new version of a very old song, singing: "We shall not be moved. Cecily is innocent, we shall not be moved."

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Photo by Zach D. Roberts

Outside, amid a crowd of supporters, chanting, singing, holding signs and waving puppets, Stolar said McMillan is "relieved it wasn't two years." He expects her to serve around 60 days with the time she's already done and good behavior. That said, he added, "She's not happy to be going back to Rikers Island." He said McMillan will appeal her conviction.

McMillan's support team issued a statement, saying, in part, "We all know Cecily did not receive a fair trial, and this case will be fought in the Court of Appeals." They add, "The DA and the courts want to make an example of Cecily -- to deter us, to scare us, to keep us out of the streets. And we won't let that happen. This ruling will not deter us, it will strengthen our resolve."

More photos from the post-sentencing rally are on the following page.


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18 comments
FoolHardyMama
FoolHardyMama

So I'm wondering... who has the kind of free time to mess around with the cops, lawyers, judges, the legal system etc for 4 years... who can just lollygag away the time hanging about in court... who has that luxury? Who can refuse a plea deal so that they "aren't admitting to violence" even though they admit to that violence? Who has that kind of money?

What kind of lawyer has the money and time to donate 4 years of legal services to someone over a such a thing?

From my meager existence, they sound like the very one-percenters I was protesting about during OWS! What a farce!

Martydaperv
Martydaperv

Free titty squeeze! I hope he gave a little on her nip!

Martydaperv
Martydaperv

Free titty squeeze! I hope he gave a little tug on her nip!

AnneSimpson
AnneSimpson

I'm glad she'll serve some time before they find a liberal judge to let her go. She should be horse whipped.

SEEYA
SEEYA

I signed the change. org petition. Think the judges decision was terrible. 90 days PRISON time in Rikers, 5 years probation and a felony record for life for some young girl that had no previous record is absurd. I hope this case is overturned on appeal and she is given "time served".

akmiller2
akmiller2

"OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Gets 90 Days and Probation for Assaulting Cop"


This headline is factually incorrect; it should read: "OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Gets 90 Days and Probation for Being Assaulted by Cop." Can't believe the editors didn't catch that.

Charlie
Charlie

@AnneSimpson People like you, who think that the law should only apply to people that they agree with, are what are destroying this nation.  "I dont like this person so they should get no due process, no rights, and should be executed without a trial."  It sounds incredibly stupid and shows just how childish and hypocritical you are.  Also just because a judge applies the law as written, that does not make them "liberal"  just impartial.  Everything you dont like is automatically "liberal" despite the fact that I would suspect that you do not know what this actually means.  You are a waste of flesh.

pLuva
pLuva

I grew up with Cecily. I was shocked when I read she was in trouble because I always though she was retarded. Do they put retards in prison in NY?

craigvan
craigvan

@Charlie 

She did get due process.  The sexual assault defense didn't work because it was a lie.

akmiller2
akmiller2

@grnber @akmiller2 I'm sorry but I'm not sure which part of the "growing up" process involves supporting throwing people in prison for being the victim of police brutality. Or are you confusing "growing up" with "getting a lobotomy"? 

akmiller2
akmiller2

@craigvan @akmiller2 The grainy videos certainly do show the cops' sadistic approach to crowd control(which is why the defense was prohibited from showing it) and their willingness to allow Cecily to die on the ground rather than allow her medical attention.

And the grainy, out-of-focus video doesn't show what happened prior to the incident AT ALL; it doesn't corroborate the prosecution's claim that the cop(who has a long history of assaulting protestors without provocation, including assaults that very same night) identified himself and tried to move Cecily any more than it corroborates Cecily's (far more believable) claim that he assaulted her first without identifying himself. In other words, the video only shows what both sides already agreed on. It doesn't contradict the defense's claims in the least.

craigvan
craigvan

@akmiller2 

Nowhere on the videos of this incident does it show her being sexually assaulted.  Repeating a lie doesn't make it true.  It just gets other stupid people to repeat it also. 


akmiller2
akmiller2

@grnber @akmiller2 McMillan was put before a kangaroo court and was denied justice. She wasn't allowed to show video or bring up the assaulting officer's long history of violence and lying. On the other hand, the prosecutors had free reign to smear her as they pleased and to selectively edit the tape. The officer was brutally attacking protestors, he was plain-clothed and not a single shred of evidence has been presented that contradicts McMillan's testimony.

You can shill for violent thugs all you want, but don't try to call yourself a grown up because you cheer a nonviolent protestor being imprisoned for reacting to a sexual assault.

In conclusion: eat shit and die.

grnber
grnber

@akmiller2 @grnber  "Grow up" as in "to grow toward or arrive at full stature or physical or mental maturity <growing up intellectually, socially, and physically> - Merriam-Webster.  Ms. McMillan was arrested, indicted, given counsel, tried, sentenced, and afforded an opportunity to appeal in accordance with the laws of New York, one of the Bluest states in America.   In other words, "move on," ak.

grnber
grnber

@akmiller2 @grnber  "Grow up:" Merriam-Webster defines it as "to grow toward or arrive at full stature or physical or mental maturity."  In other words, ak, "move on."  The fact that there is police brutality in the world doesn't deflect the seriousness of Ms. McMillan's assault on a police officer in the performance of his/her duty.  And, as evidenced by the trial and her own statements and actions, Ms. McMillan is a liar who has has no credibility, and is in need of psychological help.  This is whom you hold in high esteem?  Sadly, I have to say that the once noble progressive liberals do.

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