Trial Begins for Occupy Wall Street’s Cecily McMillan: Activist Faces 7yrs in Prison After Beating by NYPD Left Her Unconscious

[NEW YORK, NY]  Trial began in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday for Occupy Wall Street activist, Cecily McMillan, who faces 2nd degree assault charges stemming from a 2012 encounter with the NYPD that left her beaten and unconscious.  Trial has been postponed until March 3rd due to the introduction of illuminating new evidence.  McMillan was brutally arrested on the evening of March 17, 2012 at an event marking the 6-month anniversary of the group’s occupation of Zuccotti Park. The series of events leading up McMillan’s beating was documented extensively by the press, and began with a plainclothes male NYPD officer forcibly grabbing her right breast. McMillan was 23 years old at the time.

Cecily McMillan

McMillan, over the course of her arrest, sustained a violent beating resulting in bruised ribs, a seizure, and myriad cuts and bruises across her body. McMillan was hospitalized for these injuries.

McMillan 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. Prosecutors, upon approaching trial, have indicated that they will ask the judge for a maximum sentence of 7 years. Many activists speculate that McMillan’s work as a political organizer has played a role in the prosecutor’s unwavering position. Others attribute the city’s stance to an unwillingness to admit guilt in the grotesque display of police misconduct on the night of McMillan’s arrest.

cecily arrest

Supporters of McMillian are calling on activists and friends to fill the courtroom to witness each day of the proceeding.
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COURT SCHEDULE
Room 1333, Part 31 @ 100 Centre St. (All Sessions from 9:30am-4:30pm)

Trial resumes on MARCH 3, 2014
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You can stay up to date with Cecily’s support by texting  “@CecilysTrial” to 23559, or by visiting http://Justice4Cecily.com, updates are also regularly posted via Facebook HERE.
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Cecily McMillan had her first day in court on Monday, after nearly two years of delays. On March 17, 2012 Cecily was attacked from behind by a police officer, and brutally beaten by several officers on duty at Zuccotti Park. 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.

The District Attorney is looking to discredit Cecily’s account of the night through questioning 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.

Per the testimony of the officer in charge of Cecily’s arrest, the police detail assigned to Zuccotti Park night were informed in advance that the end-goal was to “clear out the park.”

Contrary to the prosecutor’s assertion that there was no context for Cecily’s arrest, there was a obvious goal of violent mass-arrests: 72 others were arrested that night and many more were man-handled 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.”

Interview w/ Cecily McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar | Courtesy of Jeffrey Durkin

“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, McMillan’s case is one of the last court cases stemming from Occupy Wall Street remaining on the docket.  It may also be one of the most consequential.

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More information on how to support Cecily McMillan can be found HERE. Journalists who would like to obtain comment from McMillian or her legal team can contact Stan Williams at 256-323-1109 or via email at t4swillia3@gmail.com as well as Lucy Parks at 540-810-5531 or via email at wegrewuptwofast@gmail.com

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Comments

25 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Nelle Jurgeleit-Greene,

    Thank you for being there for those of us who can’t. You have so many supporters around the nation. Keep up the pressure, keep up the fight for real justice.

  2. Luke Rosseel,

    I wonder if anyone could attend and live blog this trial? http://wordpress.org/plugins/24liveblog/

  3. Charlie,

    So, thanks y’all. I know it isn’t Sparrow Media’s fault, but I pled out to similar charges stemming from an arrest on wall street a month later. I was hospitalized with back and neck injuries from a beating in the back room of the 7th precinct. Thanks for the support–I stood in court, alone, for a year and a half. I was homeless and still am in an unstable living situation–just another case of Occupy and its offshoots leaving already marginalized voices in the fucking gutter. Solidarity for the white middle class only! Maybe somebody should ask Cecily what she told the feds…

    • nycyn,

      I hear you. I’m a disbaled 9-11 responder and I reached out multiple times for assistance and no one ever got back to me. Correction: They did get back to me when I offered housing.

  4. Stephen Atkin,

    The actions of the NYPD, in this matter, are completely unjustifiable and this is an excellent example of excessive abuses of power by the New York Police Department. To charge McMillian with a 2nd degree felony is an insult, not just to McMillian, but to every United States Citizen. The NYPD sexually harassed McMillian, trampled her rights, beat her up and nearly killed her in the process. What does that say about the so-called “Peacekeepers” of this nation?

  5. Author admin,

    @Charlie, we are sorry to hear about your situation. No one should go through the system like you did without support. However, please don’t express your frustration with open ended statements analogous to snitch-jacketing Cecily. If you have a solid grievance state it to her. Otherwise, I would like your permission to remove the last sentence of your post.

  6. Dave Johnson,

    These police departments in the bigger cities always get away with violating peoples civil rights and this is a case of someone having her civil rights violated. Bad cops need to be removed along with their supervisors! We the people should have the right to protest anything we want to protest to anywhere and anytime!

    • Don,

      It happens in small town America too. It seems nobody wants to get on the sh_t list of the local law enforcement even though criminals get by with anything. Also the cops are given a false sense of being worshipped by local commissioners and other considered elitist. prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges all belong to the same social circles. Decent folk don’t stand a chance at having a voice.

  7. John Penley,

    I am glad to see a spotlight on this trial. People need support from others who participate in political actions when they get arrested and instead of taking a plea deal go to trial. High Profile activists get legal defence donations and lots of support {the Rev. Billy case is a recent example} but this does not happen for most. Perhaps the high profile arrestees could lend their support to less high profile activists facing similar charges. I was arrested in Charlotte NC with OWS at the DNC and got a little support but not much. I generally don’t expect it. Anyway, as someone who has also been charged with exactly the same thing in NYC I much sympathy for this defendant and know what she is going through. If I was in NYC I would go and support her as I hope many do.

  8. Connie Thompson,

    This is happening far too often in America; those employed to protect our rights are, increasingly, obstructing justice. The laws have no teeth to bite thru corruption and the number of Americans who can’t afford the costs associated with buying “teeth”, or should I say law enforcement, is growing too. Bottom line: We have employed the wolves to oversee the sheeple and they’re not protecting anyone but themselves; having long determined their bread can best be buttered on both sides by playing every angle from pacifying the people to wining and dining with the one percent on our dime and at the expense of our families.

    Just recently – Clay County, Florida – Judge Don H. Lester authorized Oakleaf Plantation Homeowners’ Association to foreclose, by summary judgment, on my home for the alleged unpaid dues incurred by prior owners; acting in a manner inconsistent with due process on numerous occasions and, thereby, rendering his rulings “void ab initio”.

    Consequently, I appealed but both the plaintiff and lower tribunal appeared to conspire to circumvent my right to appeal by (first) withholding an order of insolvency and (later) falsely claiming my timely appeal was untimely amid numerous other blatant misrepresentations. In fact, the record showed otherwise; including conflicting evidence opposing the validity of both the initial claim and nearly every response from the plaintiff , thereafter, fulfilling all prerequisites for trial.

    To make a long story short, Judge Don H. Lester not only circumvented my right to a trial but proceeded to consistently violate the law and when I appealed, consistently, he (ultimately) sent Clay County law enforcement to forcibly remove me from my home and dispose of all my property; subsequently, I was tased (immediately) after using the bathroom and – eventually – charged with assault on two officers and resisting arrest with violence as one officer sustained what appeared to be a bite and the other a scratch to the forehead, which I don’t recall doing. I only recall the events up to being tased and sometime thereafter with missing parts in between as, apparently, I too was rendered unconscious. So, it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to exercise our rights here in America and even harder to tell who the real criminals are.

    In the meantime, while this happened on December 4, 2013, you aren’t likely to have heard about it because the media isn’t really interested in bucking the system for some little guy; therefore, far too much gets swept under the carpet and it’s up to us to echo the cries of our fellow man, woman, and child. Let the spirit of the Occupy movement overwhelmed the court at my hearing tomorrow in Clay County, Florida.

  9. Tom Leidenfrost,

    I believe the right to protest should be upheld within the United States and that Occupy movements are no different than the way this country was won over from Britain in the 18th century. To that end, imprisoning our citizens, especially after being beaten into a state of hospitalization, should be severely scrutinized within the court case with the supporting allegation of having her right breast grabbed initially. The fate of Cecily McMillan does not ultimately appear fair as self-defense is a natural impulse especially when fear is instilled by such authoritative forces. The Occupy movements, which wishes to remain peaceful, will always have the potential for violence as it comes from the result of imposing forces, such as using police, to break up these congregations. I understand that law cannot be removed or pardoned by emotional out cries, but a sentence of 7 years seems illogical and cruel to someone who is trying to be a true American and that they deserve, if any sentence is delivered, one that is much less severe. I will hope that the court acts accordingly as such an absurd punishment will only perpetuate more aggression towards police in the minds of future Occupy protestors.

  10. barbara julius,

    Why in the world hasn’t her attorney, or someone else, moved to help her file a counter suit. She is the one who was wronged.

  11. tonykeywest,

    she was battered a bruised and charged with assautling a cop. What were his injuries? I call bullshit.

  12. Seth,

    Where are our real life Boondock Saints?
    Until authority fears reprisals due to unlawful acts like this, they will continue to abuse the power we give them.
    The officers involved and the prosecuting attorney should all have to fear for their lives for such awful acts.
    But until someone holds them personally responsible to the highest degree, others will follow suit.
    This will not be the last time the NYPD abuses someone, violates their rights and gets off Scott free.

  13. Pascal PIERREDON,

    Police are Corporations Mercenary !

  14. Andrea Green,

    Utterly rudiculous! The police need to learn how to treat people. They are not above the rest of us. This disgusts me that they would charge a women over their police brutality! Police get your heads out of your ass and realize you are no better than the people you serve! I would be extremely embarrassed to be these police officers! You make the good ones look really bad! Shame on you!!!

  15. Kenyatta,

    These charges all have to be dropped and counter charges against the city and the officers and.the.police station should be attained immediatly. This was was sexually assualted and having breast myself it is very painful to have your breast grabbed. …What has gotten into the prosecutors? ?? Shameful and ….why in the lic with her being taken to hospital is she tied down and the paramedics smiling almost looks like they are laughing….

  16. Eric J,

    Is the New York County District Attorney responsible for the decision to prosecute her?

  17. Jim Evanhoe,

    this matter should be promoted to every College Campus activists Group in the World…easy to do….some one must have all the contacts……let me know please!!!

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