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».
Rebecca Heinegg will be co-counsel with Stolar at trial.
According to the National Lawyers Guild, this is also one of the last OWS related court cases left on docket.
The use of sexual assault as a police tactic was well documented and analyzed in an article by David Graeber at the time. Within OWS circles, this image of a cop grabbing Occupy Wall street activist Anna Kathryn Sluka by the breasts, as well as this image and these images of Mesiah Burciaga Hameed with her shirt completely pulled up by police officers, circulated widely. According to the Occupied Wall Street Journal, one of the snapshots of the assault on Hameed looked very similar to an image of a woman assaulted in Egypt, and for this reason, «allegedly caught fire in Egypt within hours. Burciaga-Hameed’s arrest was consistent with the random yet systematic targeting of women, teenagers and men of color for arrest, a pattern noted by many who were following the four-hour march on Twitter…»
Trial update: 2/10/14
After nearly two years of delays, Cecily McMillan’s battle in court has begun. Thusfar, the District Attorney’s strategy has focused on discrediting Cecily’s account of the night of March 17, 2012, when Cecily was attacked from behind by a police officer, and brutally beaten by several officers on duty at Zuccotti Park.
On that night, an out-of-uniform police officer grabbed her right breast from behind, and Cecily instinctually raised her arm, making contact with the officer. She was thrown to the ground by the officer and then suffered blows from several other police officers nearby; following the attack, Cecily went into a series of seizures.
Today the District Attorney attempted to question the veracity of her medical conditions, in spite of video and eyewitness accounts supporting the seriousness of her injuries. The prosecution is also trying to depict this as an isolated event – not connected to mass-arrests and grotesque police brutality exhibited by the NYPD throughout the night.
The prosecutor also attempted to remove Cecily’s arrest from the larger context — a campaign of violent mass-arrests. Per the testimony of the officer in charge of Cecily’s arrest, the police detail assigned to Zuccotti Park night was informed in advance that the end-goal was to “clear out the park.” 72 others were arrested that night and many more were man-handled or beaten by the NYPD.
During a break between some of the pre-trial motions, McMillan’s lawyer Marty Stolar said, “I believe 100% that we will win, because absolutely no crime was committed.”