By Cecily McMillan
I RECENTLY served 58 days of a three-month sentence on Rikers Island. I was convicted in May of assaulting a New York City police officer as the police cleared Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2012. (I am appealing my conviction.) I got a firsthand experience that I did not seek of what it is like to live behind bars.
On one day in May, I was waiting outside the jail pharmacy for my daily A.D.H.D. prescription. A male officer began harassing me, and when I made the mistake of looking at his badge to get his number, he slammed his body into mine and shouted a sexual slur at me.
I wrote up a complaint and then showed it to my lawyer, but he advised me not to file it, because of the risk of retaliation. Despite formal rules governing the interactions between correction officers and inmates that are detailed in the inmate handbook issued to everyone at intake, in reality we had no rights and no recourse in these kinds of conflicts.
Violence is easy to grasp and to condemn. What’s harder to understand for people who haven’t done time is the day-in, day-out degradation and neglect.
New York, July 2 - Imprisoned Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was released from Rikers Island on Wednesday morning, July 2nd, after serving 58 days. She spoke publicly at a 1pm press conference outside the jail’s outer gates on Hazen Street.
The Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was sentenced to three months in prison on Monday for assaulting a police officer as she was led away from a protest.
McMillan had been found guilty of deliberately elbowing officer Grantley Bovell in the face in March 2012. She was convicted of second-degree assault, a felony.
Her conviction was the most serious of the dozens against members of the Occupy movement, which sprang up in the autumn of 2011. Hers is believed to be the last of more than 2,600 prosecutions brought against members of the movement, most of which were dismissed or dropped.
Free Cecily McMillan NOW! Surviving police brutality and sexual assault is not a crime!
New York City: Justice for Cecily McMillan press conference at City Hall, May 12, 2014.
McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist, was assaulted by an NYPD cop — then convicted of assaulting him. She now faces 2-7 years in prison after a biased trial. Most jurors, on learning the actual facts of the case, now say they wouldn’t convict her.
Photos by Jerry Levy
After a three year legal battle, a verdict was finally delivered in the trial of Cecily Mcmillan, a leader of Occupy Wall Street protests. Prior to the verdict being announced, the court room was filled with police officers, in anticipation of anger from the public.
Mcmillan, was was found guilty, is chairwoman of the Young Democratic Socialists of America. She charged stemmed from when she was violently arrested on March 17th, 2011. Kim Froczek, an Occupy Wall Street activist described what happened.
Many Occupy Wall Street activists and legal experts feel she did not receive a fair trial. After being convicted, Mcmillan was taken directly to the Correctional Facility on Riker’s Island. On May 19th she will be sentenced to between two and seven years in prison.
Surviving police brutality and sexual assault is not a crime! Free Cecily NOW!
Saturday, March 15 - 1pm
Gather at Herald Square, 34th Street & Broadway, Manhattan
What: Support an OWS demonstrator facing 7 years in prison after being sexually assaulted by a police officer.
When: Every morning, 10 a.m., from Monday, February 10th to Wednesday the 12th. (Best day to come: Tuesday)
Where: Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre St., part 41, Room 1116
Cecily McMillan was brutally arrested at an event marking the 6 month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on March 17, 2012. In the course of her arrest she sustained a violent police beating resulting in bruised ribs and a seizure. Cecily was hospitalized for those injuries. The egregious incident received extensive media coverage.
Cecily was later charged with felony assault of a police officer, Assault 2nd degree, a Class D felony in NY, which carries that sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
A jury trial is set for Monday, February 10, 2014 at 10 AM in Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre St., part 41, Room 1116. People are encouraged to come and support her. Please wear business casual per request of her team.
“The main issue here,” says Martin R. Stolar, McMillan’s attorney, “is the heavy-handed, over-policing by the NYPD during the Occupy Wall Street protests, which lead to crimes where none existed….
"IT WAS A NORMAL REACTION FOR A WOMAN TO REACT, TO BE STARTLED AFTER HAVING HER RIGHT BREAST GRABBED."
New York City: Rally and march on Wall Street to demand extension of long-term unemployment insurance, February 7, 2014.
Photos by Jerry Levy