activist defense

on the intersection of activism and legal systems

Tag: cecily mcmillan

former correction commissioner writes that imprisonment is by its very nature destructive

Cecily McMillan elbowed a New York City police officer in the eye as officers cleared Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street protesters in March 2012. She recently served 58 days of a 90-day sentence on Rikers Island, a city jail. In today’s New York Times, the New York City correction commissioner from 2003 to 2009 has a letter to the editor regarding McMillan’s July 24 op-ed:

Cecily McMillan describes a grinding, degrading experience during her short stay on Rikers Island. Imprisonment is by its very nature destructive of human dignity, and the best antidote is for society to use it less often.

McMillan is a graduate student at the New School. Her attorney is appealing her conviction. She maintains that she struck the officer instinctively after he groped her breast.

police arrested thousands of occupy wall street protesters, but prosecutors declined to seek convictions against the vast majority

As in Oakland, where Occupy protests resulted in more than 700 arrests but only about 100 people were criminally charged, the vast majority of the people arrested during Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City had their cases dropped or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. According to today’s New York Times article,

… of the 2,644 people arrested during Occupy Wall Street protests, prosecutors only sought convictions in 421 cases; the rest were either dropped or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. Of the 421 cases, 354 pleaded guilty, 56 were convicted at trial and 11 were acquitted.

Today Cecily McMillan will be sentenced for elbowing an officer in the eye in March 2012. McMillan said she struck the officer instinctively after he groped her breast. A jury found that McMillan deliberately hit the officer, but one member of the jury, who said he spoke for nine of of the jurors, wrote a letter to the judge urging leniency.