Woman convicted of assaulting officer in Occupy protest

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old graduate student and the last defendant charged over Occupy Wall Street protests, maintains she reacted instinctively after she felt someone grab her breast

Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old graduate student and the last defendant charged over Occupy Wall Street protests, maintains she reacted instinctively after she felt someone grab her breast

WASHINGTON D.C. - The final defendant linked to charges stemming from Occupy Wall Street protests was found guilty of assaulting an officer by a Manhattan court on Monday.

Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old graduate student, maintains that she was reacting instinctively after she felt someone grab her breast from behind.

New York Police Officer Grantley Bovell said that McMillan intentionally lunged at him and hit him in the face as police attempted to clear protesters from Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012 -- six months after the emergence of Occupy Wall Street.

A video recording appears to confirm Bovell's account of the events as McMillan can be seen throwing her right elbow into Bovell's eye after crouching near the ground.

But the defense entered its own evidence to back McMillan's claim in the form of a photo of a bruise above McMillan's right breast taken the day after she was arrested.

The eight-person jury reached their guilty verdict after less than three hours of deliberation. The court was full of McMillan's supporters who shouted "shame" as the verdict was announced.

Presiding the jury, Ronald R. Zweibel, ordered McMillan be held without bail until her sentencing on May 19. She faces up to seven years in jail.

A group of McMillan's supporters, who call themselves the Cecily McMillan's support committee, issued a statement following the verdict, denouncing the proceedings and the judge.

"It has been clear from day one that Cecily has not received a fair and open trial. The job of a judge during a jury trial isn't to guide the verdict to fit his opinion," read the statement. They further called Zweibel's neutrality into question, saying that he is a "prosecutor in robes."

The group pledged to fight the verdict in an appeals court.

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