Occupy Activist Found Guilty in High-Profile Assault Case

Dan Staggs

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This week, Judge Ronald Zweibel handed down a guilty verdict in the case of Cecily McMillan, who has been on trial for second-degree assault of a police officer at an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. McMillan's defense maintains that her elbow came in contact with the officer unintentionally after she instinctively reacted to him grabbing her breast. In custody since March 2012, McMillan's case has been watched closely by activists who feel that the court process was mishandled by Judge Zweibel. McMillan's defenders also maintain that valuable information was withheld from the jury. The Nation reports: “Everyone is quite upset and I think some of us are quite surprised but most of us are not surprised at the verdict….It’s a legal travesty but I am not shocked,” said Yoni Miller, a member of the #JusticeforCecily Team, a group of Occupy veterans organizing to help support McMillan. McMillan’s trial was long and drawn out. After more than two years, proceedings were postponed yet again on April 7 because of issues with jury selection. While activists argued over who should be tried (Cecily or Officer Bovell) in the first place, Judge Ronald Zweibel repeatedly ruled against the inclusion in court proceedings of the larger context of OWS police violence. “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. Judge Zweibel, who consistently suppressed evidence, has demonstrated his clear bias by consistently siding with the prosecution,” wrote the #‎Justice4Cecily Team in a statement Monday.McMillan awaits sentencing at Rikers Island.

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Dan Staggs is an intern at In These Times.
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