Occupy activists tried unsuccessfully to re-occupy Zuccotti Park on the same day New Yorkers were also celebrating St. Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012. Only hoping to stop by the demonstration to meet up with friends to go celebrate, Cecily McMillian was caught up in a violent arrest by the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Since Occupy Wall Street began, there has been numerous complains of heavy-handed police tactics against the Occupiers.
There are numerous videos of McMillian caught up in a violent arrest by the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Video of her arrest on YouTube have been scrutinized by both her supporters and supporters of the NYPD. McMillian herself treated the arrest as a sexual assault since she was grabbed violently by her breast and thrown to the ground, later evidence provided for trial included pictures of numerous bruises to her body, including one to her breast which she claims was from Officer Bovel.
In turn, the NYPD lawyers claim that the injuries shown in court were not caused by Officer Bovel and that McMillian did not report the assault or go to a hospital afterwards.
As for evidence, in this video, you can watch McMillan's reaction to her arrest, as she was subsequently charged and found guilty of assaulting NYPD Officer Grantley Bovel by striking him in the eye with her elbow. Whether or not this was an involuntary reaction to being grabbed or a deliberate attempt to commit assault against a member of the NYPD was the focus of her trial which began in April 2014.
This video shows the after effects of her arrest where she can be seen exhibiting seizures to the fearful cries of her fellow activists as they attempt to rally medical support for her.
McMillan faced the possibility of a second-degree assault charge which could carry a seven-year sentence if she was found guilty by jury of assaulting a police officer.
At the conclusion of her trial, McMillan was found guilty of second-degree assault, but nine of the twelve jurors wrote to trial judge Ronald Zweibel to express their belief that she should not be given a prison sentence.
She was sentenced to ninety days in prison and probation for a subsequent five years. She was released after serving fifty-eight days at Rikers Island.
Once there, she started advocating for the needs of prisoners locked up in the American prison system.
Of her time there, she wrote, "First of all, we demand that we be provided with adequate, safe, and timely healthcare at all times. That, of course, includes mental health care services and the ability to request female doctors if desired at all times for safety and comfort. We often have to wait for up to 12 hours a day for a simple clinic visit, and occasionally 12 hours a day for up to a full week before we see anyone. The women of Rikers feel a special sense of urgency for this demand because of a particular event that occurred recently."
In a statement upon her release, "Fifty nine days ago, The City and State of New York labeled me a criminal. Millionaires and billionaires who had a vested interest in silencing a peaceful protest about the growing inequalities in America worked the justice system, manipulated the evidence presented and suddenly I became dangerous and distinguished from law-abiding citizens. On May 5th the jury delivered its verdict, the judge deemed me undesirable, and officers drove me across that bridge and barred me within [Rikers Island Prison]".
**Photo used was taken from a still from Democracy Now
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