The Westboro Baptist Church Is Coming Back to New York to Picket the Media, the 9/11 Museum and "FaceBook"

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Photo by Flickr user Mathias Erhart, who is in no way affiliated with the WBC.
We have lots of photos of the Westboro Baptist Church. We just decided you might rather look at some fuzzy kittens.
The Westboro Baptist Church will return to New York City in September as part of an ongoing bid to troll the universe and fill their days with some semblance of meaning. According to their picket schedule, the protest- and lawsuit-happy church/hate group is in Missouri this week to picket the funeral of Mike Brown, the Ferguson teenager recently slain by police officer Darren Wilson. But after that, to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, they'll be heading this way. They've got quite the itinerary planned.

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Highway Patrol Captain In Ferguson Blames Agitators from New York and California For Unrest [Update]

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Photo by Danny Wicentowski for the Riverfront Times
Tear gas floods the streets of Ferguson during a Sunday night protest. The melee continued Monday night.
It was another long, bad night in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests over the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson continued for the ninth straight day. The National Guard was brought in yesterday, but their presence didn't seem to calm the situation: at least 31 people were arrested during the protests last night and two men were shot. Police said they were shot at by a small group of protesters but that they didn't fire their weapons , saying the men were shot by others in the crowd. At a news conference at 2 a.m., Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson displayed two guns and a Molotov cocktail he said arrested people had been carrying. Johnson blamed some of the unrest on outside agitators, saying, "I've said many of the criminal elements that have been coming to Ferguson are not from this area.Tonight, some of those arrested came from as far away as New York and California."

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Five Arrested During Citywide Marches Supporting Mike Brown, MO Teen Slain By Police

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Photo by C.S. Muncy. The Michael Brown protest in Midtown Manhattan.
Police "kettling" protesters in Times Square during the demonstration last night.
In 90 cities around the country last night, demonstrators marched in what was dubbed National Moment of Silence 2014 to honor Mike Brown, the teenager killed in Missouri by police last week, as well as other victims of police brutality. The marches were organized online in just four days by Feminista Jones, a writer and activist from the Bronx with a massive Twitter following. In New York, marchers massed in Bed-Stuy, Harlem and hundreds in Union Square; some of the Manhattan protesters made their way up to Times Square, where five men were eventually arrested during what both police and protesters alike called an otherwise fairly peaceful night.

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Cecily McMillan, Fresh out of Rikers Island: "The 99% Is Stronger Than Ever"

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Photo by Anna Merlan
McMillan reads her statement in front of the Rikers entrance.
At 5 o'clock this morning, graduate student and Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was awakened by a guard in her bunk at Rikers, where she's spent a little more than two months after being convicted of assault on a police officer. McMillan had expected to be released today, but she anticipated going through the usual procedure: visiting the social services office around 7:30 a.m. with a group of other women also being let out that day, receiving her property back, and meeting her friends at the gates of the jail.

Instead, McMillan says she was taken to an unmarked van by a cadre of police officers.

"I don't want to go with you," she later told her friend Lucy Parks she said to them. "You're not telling me where you're taking me." She feared she was being set up.

Eventually, an officer told her she was being released. She was taken to the Queensboro Plaza, where she says she was "dumped" unceremoniously, her arms full of her property. She had no keys, money, or phone. The officers left her with a Metro Card and drove away.

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Occupy Protester Cecily McMillan on Rikers: "In Some Ways, I'm Treated Better Than Anyone Else In Here, Which is Horrifying"

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Photo by Anna Merlan
McMillan with her lead attorney, Martin Stolar, during her trial.
After serving a little less than two months in jail, Occupy Wall Street protester and graduate student Cecily McMillan will be released from Rikers Island on Wednesday, July 2. As you might recall, the 25-year-old was found guilty in May of assaulting a police officer during a 2012 protest. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation, with time off for the good behavior and time served. It seems safe to say that both McMillan and the city's Department of Correction will be happy to see her off the island, where, true to form, she's been protesting and organizing almost since the moment she arrived.

Rikers has been in an uproar lately, after two officers and 20 inmates were arrested as part of a corruption sweep. But none of them were in the Rose M. Singer Center, the jail unit where women are kept. McMillan and her fellow inmates didn't know about the arrests until relatively recently. The regular paper for the inmates is the Daily News; when they ran a cover story about the arrests last week, the paper arrived with the front cover torn off.

In a recent phone call, McMillan said her time at Rikers has been curious, a mix of special treatment that no other inmates receive and weird restrictions that seem tailor-made just for her.

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

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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."

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At Rikers Island Awaiting Sentencing, Cecily McMillan Says, "I've Never Felt So Loved Before"

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Photo by Zach Roberts
Cecily McMillan, the night of her arrest.
"My lawyer has told me to expect two years," Cecily McMillan said yesterday from the visitation room at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island, where women in New York awaiting trial or sentencing are held. The 25-year-old wore an extra-large grey jumpsuit that dwarfed her frame, prison-issued sandals and horn-rim glasses. She looked exhausted but sounded steady, if not exactly thrilled about the prospect of going to prison.

"Two years is nothing compared to what other people in here deal with," she added.

On May 5, McMillan, a 25-year-old graduate student and Occupy Wall Street activist was found guilty of assaulting a police officer during a March 17, 2012 demonstration at Zuccotti Park. She'll be sentenced May 19, when she faces anywhere from probation to seven years in prison.

McMillan maintains that she only elbowed officer Grantley Bovell after he grabbed her breast from behind; photographs of her injuries have been widely disseminated, including a handprint-shaped bruise on her breast. Her case has quickly become a cause celebre, with Russian activists Pussy Riot visiting her at Rikers and nine of the twelve jurors in her case writing to the judge for leniency. Her supporters have also written hundreds of letters to Judge Ronald Zweibel on her behalf. They plan to deliver 500 of them tomorrow, and another 500 or so on Monday. An online petition asking Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to intervene on her behalf has garnered more than 43,000 signatures.

McMillan, meanwhile, is wary that she'll be perceived as a media hog or someone gunning for political martyrdom. "I am not happy to be here," she said plainly.

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Nine of 12 Jurors Who Convicted Occupy Protestor Cecily McMillian Ask Judge to Go Easy on Her

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Photo by C.S. Muncy
McMillan's supporters hold up signs in her honor at Liberty Plaza after her conviction.
On Monday, Occupy Wall Street protester and New School graduate student Cecily McMillan was convicted of assaulting police officer Grantley Bovell during a demonstration on March 17, 2012, a felony that carries a maximum of seven years in prison. There's been widespread shock and outrage over that verdict, and the lengthy prison time McMillan could do, particularly in light of the fact that she maintains that the incident began when Bovell grabbed her breast from behind, causing her to involuntarily elbow him in the face.

Apparently, the jury in the McMillan case is just as shocked as everyone else. In a letter dated May 6, nine of them wrote to Judge Ronald Zweibel, the judge who heard the case and will sentence McMillan on May 19, asking him to be lenient. The letter reads, in part: "It serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her for any amount of time."

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Cecily McMillan Supporters Rally and Grieve Following Guilty Verdict

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Photo by C.S. Muncy
McMillan's supporters held up signs in her honor at Liberty Plaza last night.
Yesterday, a jury found graduate student and Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan guilty of assault on a police officer. As we wrote, the scene in the courthouse at 100 Centre Street quickly grew chaotic, with her supporters shouting about the injustice of the verdict and court security officers with plastic handcuffs shouting back.

Last night, McMillan's supporters gathered for a quieter rally at Liberty Plaza, formerly known as Zuccotti Park, once the scene of the OWS encampment.

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Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan Found Guilty of Assault on Police Officer

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McMillan talks with one of her lawyers, Martin Stolar.

Update, 3:08 p.m.:
A jury has found Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan guilty of assault on a police officer. Her sentencing will be May 19. She was remanded into custody, pending sentencing. Judge Ronald Zweibel refused to let her stay free on bail. A full update can be found on page three.

The Voice's Anna Merlan posted this photo of the police presence:

Original story below.

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