Cecily McMillan who allegedly elbowed a cop after he grabbed her breast during Occupy demonstrations on March 17, 2012, was found guilty of assaulting a police officer yesterday afternoon. She was denied bail, and will be held at Rikers Island until her sentencing May 19. Assaulting a police officer carries a maximum sentence of seven years. However, according to Martin Stolar, McMillan’s attorney, the judge has “extraordinary scope” in deciding her sentencing, and jail time might not be required.
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) May 6, 2014
As the Village Voice reports, McMillan’s supporters held a small demonstration at Liberty Plaza and released a statement after the verdict. No arrests were made at the demonstration. The statement reads, in part:
We are devastated by the Jury’s verdict today. It has been clear from day one that Cecily has not received a fair and open trial. The job of a judge during a jury trial isn’t to guide the verdict to fit his opinion. Judge Zweibel, who consistently suppressed evidence, has demonstrated his clear bias by consistently siding with the prosecution. In addition to suppressing evidence, he imposed a gag order on Cecily’s lawyers, which is a clear violation of their 1st Amendment Rights, and placed the burden of proof on the defense, not the prosecution. He is rightly known as ‘a prosecutor in robes’.
Beyond Judge Zweibel, it is disgusting to see vast resources from taxpayers wasted for over two years to prosecute Cecily. Manhattan DA Cy Vance has refused to drop this case, pursuing maximum charges against Cecily while ignoring police violence and misconduct. This is unfortunately not isolated to Cecily’s case but is indicative of a system concerned not with justice but with the unrelenting harassment of dissenters and the powerless.
Stolar says he plans to appeal the verdict, citing evidence that Justice Ronald A. Zweibel excluded about other protesters who say Officer Grantley Bovell acted violently toward them.
“I’m extremely disappointed that an innocent woman has been convicted,” Stolar said.