Cecily McMillan on Trial for ‘Assaulting’ NYPD Cop at Zuccotti Park: Oh… the Po’ Po-Po

Here’s the background story from March 23, 2012. You will no doubt remember the video footage at the bus even if you’d forgotten Cecily’s name.

McMillan is being charged with the second degree assault of a police officer, a Class D felony that carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. The case was due to begin on Thursday 6 February, but has been postponed over and over. Cecily has been living with this evil cloud hanging over her head for over two years now. ‘Speedy trial’: Pfffft.  The whole thing sucks, and if I may be so bold: Fuck the NYPD and the police state we’re living under.

This link will take you to a Feb. 12 interview with McMillan’s attorney Martin Stolar; in it he said that McMillan’s elbow did indeed hit Officer Grantley Bovell in a reflex to having her breast grabbed from behind, an dragged her backward: ergo: no criminal intent, thus no crime. Stolar had petitioned the court for Bovell’ s personnel file, given the fact that he’d faced citizen complaints and lawsuits in past, including a current one by another Occupy protestor, Austin Guest, referenced in the video below. The court denied Bolar’s petition, but he hopes to be able to get the jury to hear that evidence somehow.

Chase Madar at the Guardian wrote an excellent op-ed in which he asked: ‘Cecily McMillan’s Occupy trial is a huge test of US civil liberties. Will they survive?’ (Irony intended? Dunno)

For years, comparing American freedom to Russian tyranny seemed like an exaggeration. But maybe we’re not so different after all’. He reminded readers:

‘McMillan is one of over 700 protestors arrested in the course of Occupy Wall Street’s mass mobilization, which began with hopes of radical change and ended in an orgy of police misconduct. According to a scrupulously detailed report (pdf here) issued by the NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School, the NYPD routinely wielded excessive force with batons, pepper spray, scooters and horses to crush the nascent movement. And then there were the arrests, often arbitrary, gratuitous and illegal, with most charges later dismissed. McMillan’s is the last Occupy case to be tried, and how the court rules will provide a clear window into whether public assembly stays a basic right or becomes a criminal activity.
New York is not the only place where the first amendment’s right to assembly continues to get gouged by police and prosecutors. In Chicago, police infiltrators goaded three activists into making Molotov cocktails; the young men were then charged with terror crimes – charges of which they were acquitted by an Illinois jury last week. Now that North Carolina has erupted into enormous protests against its far-right state government, we can likely expect police there to seek creative ways, legal and otherwise, to stifle mass political participation.

The freedom to assemble remains strong – as long as you’re a single person holding up your sign on a highway embankment or some other lonely spot. But the right to engage in real public demonstrations has been effectively eviscerated by local ordinances and heavy-handed police tactics like aggressive surveillance, “kettling” protestors with movable plastic barriers, arbitrary closures of public spaces and the harassment and arrest of journalists who would tell the tale. (Note: the Nato 3 were convicted of other lesser charges.)

Earlier this week it was reported that they were having a hard time seating a jury due to the fact that so many folks in the jury pool work on Wall Street and admitted strong biases against the Occupy movement, thus, could not render an impartial verdict.. File under: ‘They may be greedy bastards, but at least they were honest…or else simply didn’t want to waste all those days in court when they could be doing God’s work’. Pace.

But as of Friday, they seated a jury and chose alternates. The trial began with the prosecution saying that they will show video that ‘proves’ that McMillan intentionally threw her elbow at Bovell:

‘Video footage will show that Cecily McMillan “crouched down, then bent her knees, and then aimed her elbow at the officer and then jumped up to strike” the officer as he led her away from a protest in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in March 2012, Erin Choi, an assistant district attorney, told the jury in her opening argument in McMillan’s trial for assault.

“‘Are you filming this?’, ‘Are you filming this?’ were the defendant’s words right before she intentionally attacked Police Officer Grantley Bovell,” said Choi.

After receiving a blow to his left eye from McMillan’s elbow, Choi said, “Officer Bovell was completely horrified. This was the last thing he was expecting to happen that day.”

Miz France asked some odd questions here, but nonetheless, Lauren Wilfong, the press representative for “Justice for Cecily,” provided some salient information.

Justice for Cecily’s website will try to keep current as her trial resumes on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. at the New York Criminal Court• 100 Centre Street, Room 1116 Part 41, New York, NY 10013. If you’re in the area, you might just want to support Cecily; the website has hints on attending.

Tweet using #Justice4Cecily

“Occupy Love’

~Cecily McMillan


(cross-posted at My.Firedoglake.com)

15 responses to “Cecily McMillan on Trial for ‘Assaulting’ NYPD Cop at Zuccotti Park: Oh… the Po’ Po-Po

  1. No need to visit DFL anymore Wendy. I can come here and check out your stellar work. Congrats- Good job as usual.

  2. LOL I mean FDL- DFL is the Minnesota Dem party. Fruedian slip i am sure. LOL

  3. also: the dumb friends league, lol. thank you, but sometimes the comment threads over yonder add a lot to a post. lately? the place is an epic ghost town. by the by, urban dictionary has dfl as: ‘dead fuckin’ last’. gotta love it.

    sweet dreams. :)

  4. here in Minnesota we call the DFL Dumb Fucking Liberals. Sad to see that FDL has become such a ghost town. Jane hamster really screwed herself with the bannings. Oh well. carry on.

  5. FYI- I am stirring it up at TruthDig. I also sent a version of a story that i created on the Ukraine to Jane at FDL as well as Rob Kall of Op Ed news (I was banned there even before the DFL banning.
    Let’s see if she-they respond.
    BTW I LOVE the Eurythmics. Sweet Dreams indeed

  6. :)

    by the way, juliania left you a comment on my ‘your town’ post. a far as fdl, i reckon it wasn’t just the bannings, but miz hamsher’s general business model that has failed, and is failing anew in the present iteration. but everyone has an opinion, just as they have other unmentionable anatomical features…

  7. LOL Well I know my anatomical features stink. Thanks for the heads up re Juliania. I left her a message.

  8. well, i was going for the ‘like a-holes, everyone has one (an opinion)’. :) glad j might see your appreciation of the video she offered to you.

  9. a bit of an update from a few days ago on the trial via ‘the village voice‘. office krupke’s version of mcmillan’s gesture differed from hers, no surprise, although if there was a new tape introduced, no coverage claimed that, nor did i see it anywhere.

    but this bit about a witness called *by the prosecution* seemed notable in its weirdness to store here for the future. remember that cecily’s supporters came to court with pink construction paper hands over their right breasts, and were ordered to remove them. last friday, they arrived with pink hearts pinned on, and the judge blew his stack, blamed it on mcmillan’s attorney, had the bailff confiscate them, he issued dire warnings, and all that. and then:

    “With the hearts safely disposed of, ADA Choi continued questioning Sergeant Joseph Diaz, an NYPD officer with Manhattan South, the precinct usually assigned to cover protests and demonstrations. Diaz, who began his testimony on Friday, claimed not to remember virtually anything about the events of March 17, even telling Stolar on cross-examination he wasn’t sure whether there were 10, 50, or 100 people present in Zuccotti Park, or how many people were arrested that night.

    Sometimes, the exchange between the two men swerved into comedy. At one point, Stolar asked what the NYPD did between when they arrived at the park, around 5 p.m., and when they were told by their superior officers to get everyone in the park to leave around midnight, so the park could ostensibly be subjected to a thorough, impromptu late-night cleaning.

    “I dunno,” Diaz replied. “What a cop does? Drinking coffee? Talking about baseball?” The jury tittered.

    Bovell, though, recalled the night much more clearly when he took the stand.”

    now if i am choi, clearly i interview officer diaz ahead of the trial to see if i want to use him as a witness, no? i do wish the journalist might have noted what choi’s reaction to diaz’s testimony was; unless she has a great poker face, of course, and didn’t show anything but micro-expressions or clenched fists…

    i hadn’t seen a photo of bovell before, so i didn’t know he was black, not that it should matter…

  10. Thank you for making this diary, wendye – I was ‘trekking’ yesterday but will go comment at fdl now (seem to be a glut of kiwis upper right, but I will visit the ‘your town’ to read Michael’s, thanks.)

    A further comment on Guardian coverages in general – their bit on Cecily’s incarceration (abominable ruling) seemed a good one to me. I suspect that like Amy they have to toe a certain line – comments are often the place to go, as at Saker site – keeping that saltshaker handy.

    I can’t help linking Occupy with that tent city in Odessa. Wish I knew more about the latter before it got burnt by the football crowd – that being a case of a citizenry incited to violence and then guilt by association for a lot of them – wellknown fact that dogs individually peaceful can be marauders in a pack with other ‘peaceful’ animals. Especially football types, I guess.

    [Sorry to go OT – you just want to make such folks realize they are being played.]

  11. The link is in The OBAMANABLE
    because it bears repeating.

  12. i’d seen two guardian pieces about cecily’s conviction; one by a male, one by a female. i far preferred molly knefel’s ‘Cecily McMillan’s guilty verdict reveals our mass acceptance of police violence: The hyper-selective retelling of events mirrors the popular narrative of Occupy Wall Street – and how one woman may serve seven years while the NYPD goes free’


    but this one by the dude’s original piece on the trial had me weeping and bitter in turns: ‘Occupy trial juror describes shock at activist’s potential prison sentence: Cecily McMillan ‘terrified’ ahead of sentencing of up to seven years in prison after conviction for assaulting police officer’ esp as I’d just rather bitterly commented on Zweibel’s jury instruction: “Judge instructed jury to be dispassionate, don’t think about matters of sentence and punishment”


    fiddlesticks; i forgot to cross-post these diaries…

  13. Juries need to understand that THEY are the deliberative body and can rule as they see fit; I remember particularly upbraiding a coroner as the inquest jury chair, for her decision to not come out from her home in the wee hours of an Alaskan morning to officially declare the death of a shot fleeing felon (as required by Alaskan law); instead relying on the ambulance crew’s “assessment” of impending death; THEN leaving the “dying man” in the grocery parking lot until mid-morning to inspect and declare his long-frozen corpse actually dead! We, the jury; found that barbaric.

  14. Tim DeChristopher makes that point, Bruce, in his Moyers interview – that juries need to rule independently but are used to taking the judge’s admonitions as ‘gospel’, which really harms the system of trial by jury.

    Your diary is excellent, wendye.

  15. that was a good and likely brave thing that you did, bruce. not many citizens take that sort of action (living one’s convictions). yes, dechristopher did remind us of that. few juries are ever advised of that fact by judges (if any), though, yes?

    but imagine that stolar had mentioned the notion of jury nullification; zweibel would have slapped in jail for contempt of court! but arrgh; i just found this on #justice4cecily (and sorry, i will be finished for the night):

    Lanyon goes on to explain what she saw, and what it meant in context; it’s quite painful to read, and of course see…


    night, night. i’ll get to the other threads tomorrow.

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