One of the few trials of Occupy Wall Street protestors concluded today with the conviction of Cecily McMillan, accused of assaulting a police officer. McMillan contended that the officer grabbed her breast and she didn't remember hitting him. The officer said he grabbed her shoulder and she elbowed him in the face, giving him a black eye. The jury believed Officer Grantley Bovell.
It all started on March 17, 2012, the six month anniversary of OWS. McMillan, who'd been arrested at OWS events before, was one of 73 protestors arrested after they attempted to re-occupy Zuccotti Park. (McMillan contends that she was not at Zuccotti Park to protest, but rather was out celebrating St. Patrick's Day.)
Here's a video of the incident (McMillan's encounter with Bovell occurs at 00:20, though what contact he had with her before she elbowed him cannot be seen):
Photos taken after McMillan was released from police custody show a nasty bruise on her right breast, where she claims Bovell, who has been accused of assault in the past, grabbed her. According to the Guardian, prosecutor Erin Choi said the bruising was not observed nor mentioned in two hospital checks immediately after McMillan's arrest and "suggested that McMillan caused it herself."
"She might as well have said that aliens came that night and assaulted her," Choi said.
As for Bovell, he claimed that McMillan's elbow left him with headaches and light sensitivity. Apparently some confusion, too -- New York Daily News pointed out that Bovell repeatedly said in his grand jury testimony that his right eye was injured even though it was actually his left. Bovell did not have an explanation for this when asked on the stand.
After the verdict, Choi asked that McMillan be remanded into custody until her sentencing. McMillan's lawyers objected, but the judge sided with Choi. McMillan is now in jail, where she could spend the next seven years of her life.
In response to McMillan's conviction, people have returned to Zuccotti Park to protest.
reported that about 100 people turned out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.