An Occupy Wall Street activist accused of elbowing a New York City cop over the weekend walked free on Monday when a judge denied prosecutors' request for $20,000 bail in an apparent rebuke against the protest crackdown on Saturday. Cecily McMillan, an Occupy protester once profiled in Rolling Stone, left the courtroom in tears after a judge told her she could go with no bail, Guardian reporter Ryan Devereaux tweeted on Monday. McMillan's was one of the most disturbing arrests over the weekend, as she apparently had a seizure while in handcuffs; police said she'd elbowed an officer in the face. Video taken by an activist appears to show McMillan getting tackled, but police reportedly released another video showing her elbowing the officer before she was taken to Bellevue hospital. Occupy Wall Streeters tweeted that she was charged with aggravated assault, but we have not been able to confirm that with the lawyers.
Still, prosecutors aren't likely to ask for $20,000 bail unless the charge is significantly more serious than the normal disorderly conduct protesters usually get hit with, and judges don't tend to deny bail entirely -- especially for serious crimes -- unless they disagree with the prosecution's characterization of the defendant. McMillan's release on Monday came as city politicians held a press conference to introduce a proposed bill establishing a "protesters' bill of rights," and to announce a follow-up direct action next Saturday protesting the alleged police brutality. "Occupy Wall Street movement are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state. Why are the police treating them as such?" said city councilman Jumaane Williams, himself the subject of one of the NYPD's more controversial arrests.