Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The Crime of Peaceful Protest - Hedges
#1

The Crime of Peaceful Protest

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_..._20140427/

Posted on Apr 27, 2014

By Chris Hedges
[Image: mcmillanc_590.jpg]
Occupy Wall Street activists Eric Linkser, center left, and Cecily McMillan, far right, take turns shouting information to fellow protesters preparing to return to Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, 2011. AP/Bebeto Matthews


NEW YORKCecily McMillan, wearing a red dress and high heels, her dark, shoulder-length hair stylishly curled, sat behind a table with her two lawyers Friday morning facing Judge Ronald A. Zweibel in Room 1116 at the Manhattan Criminal Court. The judge seems to have alternated between boredom and rage throughout the trial, now three weeks old. He has repeatedly thrown caustic barbs at her lawyers and arbitrarily shut down many of the avenues of defense. Friday was no exception.
The silver-haired Zweibel curtly dismissed a request by defense lawyers Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg for a motion to dismiss the case. The lawyers had attempted to argue that testimony from the officer who arrested McMillan violated Fifth Amendment restrictions against the use of comments made by a defendant at the time of arrest. But the judge, who has issued an unusual gag order that bars McMillan's lawyers from speaking to the press, was visibly impatient, snapping, "This debate is going to end." He then went on to uphold his earlier decision to heavily censor videos taken during the arrest, a decision Stolar said "is cutting the heart out of my ability to refute" the prosecution's charge that McMillan faked a medical seizure in an attempt to avoid being arrested. "I'm totally handicapped," Stolar lamented to Zweibel.
The trial of McMillan, 25, is one of the last criminal cases originating from the Occupy protest movement. It is also one of the most emblematic. The state, after the coordinated nationwide eradication of Occupy encampments, has relentlessly used the courts to harass and neutralize Occupy activists, often handing out long probation terms that come with activists' forced acceptance of felony charges. A felony charge makes it harder to find employment and bars those with such convictions from serving on juries or working for law enforcement. Most important, the long probation terms effectively prohibit further activism.
The Occupy Wall Street movement was not only about battling back against the rise of a corporate oligarchy that has sabotaged our democracy and made war on the poor and the working class. It was also about our right to peaceful protest. The police in cities across the country have been used to short-circuit this right. I watched New York City police during the Occupy protests yank people from sidewalks into the street, where they would be arrested. I saw police routinely shove protesters and beat them with batons. I saw activists slammed against police cars. I saw groups of protesters suddenly herded like sheep to be confined within police barricades. I saw, and was caught up in, mass arrests in which those around me were handcuffed and then thrown violently onto the sidewalk. The police often blasted pepper spray into faces from inches away, temporarily blinding the victims. This violence, carried out against nonviolent protesters, came amid draconian city ordinances that effectively outlawed protest and banned demonstrators from public spaces. It was buttressed by heavy police infiltration and surveillance of the movement. When the press or activists attempted to document the abuse by police they often were assaulted or otherwise blocked from taking photographs or videos. The message the state delivered is clear: Do not dissent. And the McMillan trial is part of the process.
McMillan, who spent part of her childhood living in a trailer park in rural Texas and who now is a graduate student at The New School for Social Research in New York, found herself with several hundred other activists at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan in March 2012 to mark the six-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street. The city, fearing the re-establishment of an encampment, deployed large numbers of police officers to clear the park just before midnight of that March 17. The police, heavily shielded, stormed into the gathering in fast-moving lines. Activists were shoved, hit, knocked to the ground. Some ran for safety. More than 100 people were arrested on the anniversary. After the violence, numerous activists would call the police aggression perhaps the worst experienced by the Occupy movement. In the mayhem McMillanwhose bruises were photographed and subsequently were displayed to Amy Goodman on the "Democracy Now!" radio, television and Internet programwas manhandled by a police officer later identified as Grantley Bovell. [Click here to see McMillan interviewed on "Democracy Now!" She appears in the last 10 minutes of the program.]
Bovell, who was in plainclothes and who, according to McMillan, did not identify himself as a policeman, allegedly came up from behind and grabbed McMillan's breasta perverse form of assault by New York City police that other female activists, too, suffered during Occupy protests. McMillan's elbow made contact with his face, just below the eye, in what she says appeared to be a reaction to the grope; she says she has no memory of the incident. By the end of the confrontation she was lying on the ground bruised, beaten and convulsing. She was taken to a hospital emergency room, where police handcuffed her to a bed.
Had McMillan not been an Occupy activist, the trial that came out of this beating would have been about her receiving restitution from New York City for police abuse. Instead, she is charged with felony assault in the second degree and facing up to seven years in prison. She is expected to take the witness stand this week.
McMillan's journey from a rural Texas backwater to a courtroom in New York is a journey of political awakening. Her parents, divorced when she was small, had little money. At times she lived with her mother, who had jobs at a Dillard's department store, as an accountant for a pool hall and later, after earning a degree, as a registered nurse doing shifts of 60 to 70 hours in hospitals and nursing homes. There were also painful stretches of unemployment. Her mother, from Mexico, was circumspect about revealing her ethnicity in the deeply white conservative community, one in which blacks and other minorities were not welcome. She never taught her son and daughter Spanish. As a girl McMillan saw her mother struggle with severe depression and, in one terrifying instance, taken to a hospital after she passed out from an overdose of prescription pills. For periods, McMillan, her brother and her mother survived on welfare, and they moved often; she attended 13 schools, including five high schools. Her father worked at a Domino's Pizza shop, striving in vain to become a manager.
Racism was endemic in the area. There was a sign in the nearby town of Vidor, not far from the Louisiana state line, that read: "If you are dark get out before dark." It had replaced an earlier sign that said: "Don't let the sun set on your ass nigger."
The families around the McMillans struggled with all the problems that come with povertyalcoholism, drug abuse, domestic and sexual violence and despair. Cecily's brother is serving a seven-year sentence for drug possession in Texas.
"I grew up around the violence of poverty," she told me as she lit another cigarette while I interviewed her Thursday night in an apartment in Harlem. She smoked nearly nonstop during our conversation. "It was normative."
Her parents worked hard to fit into the culture of rural Texas. She said she competed as a child in a beauty pageant called Tiny Miss Valentines of Texas. She was on a cheerleading team. She ran track.
"My parents tried," McMillan said. "They wanted to give us everything. They wanted us to have a lifestyle we could be proud of. My parents, because we were ... at times poor, were ashamed of who we were. I asked my mother to buy Tommy Hilfiger clothes at the Salvation Army and cut off the insignias and sew them onto my old clothes. I was afraid of being made fun of at school. My mother got up at 5 in the morning before work and made us pigs in a blanket, putting the little sausages into croissants. She wanted my brother and myself to be proud of her. She really did a lot with so very little."
McMillan spent most of her summers with her paternal grandparents in Atlanta. They opened her to another world. She attended a Spanish-language camp. She went to blues and jazz festivals. She attended a theater summer camp called Seven Stages that focused on cultural and political perspectives. When she was a teenager she wrote collective theater pieces, including one in which she wore the American flag as a burka and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a character dressed as Darth Vader walked onto the stage. "My father was horrified," she said. "He walked out of the theater."
As a 13-year-old she was in a play called "I Hate Anne Frank." "It was about American sensationalism," she said. "It asked how the entire experience of the Holocaust could be turned for many people into a girl's positive narrative, a disgusting false optimism. It was not well received."
Art, and especially theater, awakened her to the realities endured by others, from Muslims in the Middle East to the black underclass in the United States. And, unlike in the Texas towns where she grew up, she made black friends in Atlanta. She began to wonder about the lives of the African-Americans who lived near her in rural Texas. What was it like for them? How did they endure racism? Did black women suffer the way her mother suffered? She began to openly question and challenge the conventions and assumptions of the white community around her. She read extensively, falling in love with the work of Albert Camus.
"I would miss bus stops because I would be reading The Stranger' or The Plague,' " she said. "Existentialism to me was beautiful. It said the world is shit. It said this is the lot humanity is given. But human beings have to try their best. They swim and they swim and they swim against the waves until they can't swim any longer. You can choose to view these waves as personal attacks against you and give up, or you can swim. And Camus said you should not sell out for a lifeboat. These forces are impersonal. They are structural. I learned from Camus how to live and how to die with dignity."
She attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., under a scholarship. After graduating, she worked as a student teacher in inner-city schools in Chicago. She joined the Young Democratic Socialists. She enrolled at The New School for Social Research in New York City in the fall of 2011 to write a master's thesis on Jane Addams, Hull House and the settlement movement. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began in the city six days after she arrived at the school. She said that at first she was disappointed with the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti Park. She felt it lacked political maturity. She had participated in the political protests in Madison, Wis., in early 2011, and the solidarity of government workers, including police, that she saw there deeply influenced her feelings about activism. She came away strongly committed to nonviolence.
"Police officers sat down to occupy with us," she said of the protests in Madison. "It was unprecedented. We were with teachers, the fire department, police and students. You walked around saying thank you to the police. You embraced police. [But then] I went to Occupy in New York and saw drum circles and people walking around naked. There was yoga. I thought, what is this? I thought for many protesters this was just some social experiment they would go back to their academic institutions and write about. Where I come from people are hungry. Women are getting raped. Fathers and stepfathers beat the shit out of children. People die. ... Some people would rather not live."
"At first I looked at the occupiers and thought they were so bourgeois," she went on. "I thought they were trying to dress down their class by wearing all black. I was disgusted. But in the end I was wrong. I wasn't meeting them where they were. These were kids, some of whom had been to Harvard, Yale or Princeton, [who] were the jewels of their family's legacy. They were doing something radical. They had never been given the opportunity to have their voices heard, to have their own agency. They weren't clowns like I first thought. They were really brave. We learned to have conversations. And that was beautiful. And these people are my friends today."
She joined Occupy Wall Street's Demands Working Group, which attempted to draw up a list of core demands that the movement could endorse. She continued with her academic work at The New School for Social Research. She worked part time. She was visiting her grandmother, who was terminally ill in Atlanta, in November 2011 when the police cleared out the Zuccotti Park encampment. When she returned to the New School she took part in the occupation of school buildings, but some occupiers trashed the property, leading to a bitter disagreement between her and other activists. Radical elements in the movement who supported the property destruction held a "shadow trial" and condemned her as a "bureaucratic provocateur."
"I started putting together an Affinity Group after the New School occupation," she said. "I realized there was a serious problem between anarchists and socialists and democratic socialists. I wanted, like Bayard Rustin, to bring everyone together. I wanted to repair the fractured left. I wanted to build coalitions."
McMillan knows that the judge in her trialwho in one comment on the lawyers' judge-rating website The Robing Room is called "a prosecutor with a robe"has stacked the deck against her.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported that Bovell, the policeman who McMillan says beat her, has been investigated at least twice by the internal affairs department of the New York City Police Department. In one of these cases, Bovell and his partner were sued for allegedly using an unmarked police car to strike a 17-year-old fleeing on a dirt bike. The teenager said his nose was broken, two teeth were knocked out and his forehead was lacerated. The case was settled out of court for a substantial amount of money. The officer was also captured on a video that appeared to show him kicking a suspect on the floor of a Bronx grocery.
In addition, Bovell was involved in a ticket-fixing scandal in his Bronx precinct.
Austin Guest, 33, a graduate of Harvard University who was arrested at Zuccotti Park on the night McMillan was assaulted, is suing Bovell for allegedly intentionally banging his head on the internal stairs of an MTA bus that took him and other activists in for processing.
The judge has ruled that Bovell's involvement in the cases stemming from the chasing of the youth on the dirt bike and the Guest arrest cannot be presented as evidence in the McMillan case.
The corporate state, which has proved utterly incapable of addressing the grievances and injustices endured by the underclass, is extremely nervous about the mass movements that have swept the country in recent years. And if protests erupt againas I think they willthe state hopes it will have neutralized much of the potential leadership. Being an activist in peaceful mass protest is the only real "crime" McMillan has committed.
"Everyone should come and sit through this trial to see the facade that we call democracy," she said. "The resources one needs to even remotely have a chance in this system are beyond most people. Thank God I went to college and graduate school. Thank God Marty and Rebecca are my lawyers. Thank God I am an organizer and have some agency. I wait in line every day to go to court. I read above my head the words that read something like Justice Is the Foundation of Democracy.' And I wonder if this is Alice in Wonderland.' People of color, people who are poor, the people where I come from, do not have a chance for justice. Those people have no choice but to plea out. They can never win in court. I can fight it. This makes me a very privileged person. It is disgusting to think that this is what our democracy has come to. I am heartbreakingly sad for our country."
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#2
Published on Monday, May 5, 2014 by Common Dreams

OWS Activist Found Guilty of 'Assaulting' Cop Who Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Her

Cecily McMillan, who faces up to seven years in prison, was immediately handcuffed and 'whisked away'

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

[Image: photo_10.jpg]Cecily McMillan arrives at court in New York at the start of her assault trial. (Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA)

Cecily McMillanthe 25-year-old Occupy Wall Street organizer who was allegedly sexually assaulted and brutalized by a police officer at Zuccotti Park, is facing up to seven years in prison afterin what her supporters say is a cruel twistshe was convicted Monday afternoon of "felony assault" of the very police officer she says is her perpetrator.

"This threatens a chilling effect over protest movements going forward," said Stan Williams, media coordinator for Justice for Cecily, in an interview with Common Dreams. "I am so sad and raw right now."

After four weeks of trial and just three hours of jury deliberation, the verdict was issued Monday afternoon, and Judge Ronald Zweibel immediately remanded McMillan into custody pending sentencing, rejecting her lawyer's requests for bail.

The courtroom, which was packed with McMillan's supporters and approximately 50 police officers, erupted into cries of "Shame!" as McMillan was handcuffed. According to Williams, people who stood up were pushed down and told to be quiet, yet the crowd "continued to shout and yell."

"You could see Cecily over the heads of police officers who lined the front of the courtroom," he added. "She looked upset and in shock over the verdict. Then she was whisked away."

Williams said the scene was "extremely triggering" given the brutality of the March 2012 incident around which the trial orbited. According to a statement from Justice for Cecily,
[O]n March 17, 2012, Cecily's attendance at Zuccotti was a point of party, not protest. It was St. Patrick's Day and as a McMillan, she vowed for this one occasion to put down the bullhorn and pick up the beer. Cecily swung by the park to pick up a friend on her way to a nearby pub. Minutes later, she was sexually assaulted while attempting to leave Zuccotti in compliance with police evacuation orders. Seized from behind, she was forcefully grabbed by the breast and ripped backwards. Cecily startled and her arm involuntarily flew backward into the temple of her attacker, who promptly flung her to the ground, where others repeatedly kicked and beat her into a string of seizures.

McMillan is described by her supporters as "a 25-year-old organizer" who "has been politically active for over a decade most notably in the Democratic Socialists for America, the anti-Scott Walker mobilization, and Occupy Wall Street."

She earlier rejected a deal from prosecutors, in which she would plea guilty to second-degree assault of a police officer in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors for no prison time.
McMillan's supporters have slammed Judge Zweibel for imposing a gag order on her lawyers and showing strong favor to the prosecution.

McMillan will soon be on her way to Rikers Island, said Williams.
[URL="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/05/occupy-wall-street-cecily-mcmillan-guilty-assaulting-police-officer"]
According to[/URL] The Guardian, "Hers is believed to be the last of more than 2,600 prosecutions brought against members of the movement, most of which were dismissed or dropped."

McMillan's supporters say McMillan will fight the verdict in an appeals court. According to Williams, there will be a rally Monday evening at Zuccotti Park, and there is a separate fund being collected for her commissary costs.

In a statement immediately following the verdict, Justice for Cecily declared:
We recognize that, as poorly as Cecily has been treated these past two years, she was lucky enough to have an amazing support system comprised of representation from the National Lawyer's Guild and Mutant Legal, as well as significant financial help from supporters of Occupy Wall Street and a team of ten who tirelessly worked to bring her case to light and support her through this trying time. It's harrowing to imagine how many unfortunate people encounter this system without the resources Cecily had, though we know countless innocent people are forced to plea to felonies and ruin their lives every day in this building.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Reply
#3
.....not much left of Justice in the 'ol U S of A.....now the U SS of A
.....they sent that as a lesson to all....not just to her. We have to hope on appeal.....
.....a bansker or wealthy person would still be out on bail..but a 'terrorist' who questions the crapitalist system is dragged away immediately to prison....note!
Niemoller's statement was never more apt.....

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#4

Occupy Wall Street on Trial: Cecily McMillan Convicted of Assaulting Cop, Faces Up to Seven Years




An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of assaulting a New York City police officer in a trial that critics say should have been about the police assaulting her. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park, six months after Occupy began. McMillan was convicted of deliberately striking Officer Grantley Bovell with her elbow, leaving him with a black eye. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. To support this claim, defense lawyers showed photos of bruising to her chest during trial. In addition to her injuries, McMillan says she went into a seizure as officers pinned her down. She was later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. After a four-week trial, the jury took just three hours Monday to deliver a verdict. The judge in the case rejected defense pleas to allow her release on bail. McMillan was placed in handcuffs and taken to Rikers Island, where she'll remain until sentencing in two weeks. She faces up to seven years in prison. We speak to McMillan's attorney Martin Stolar and her friend Lucy Parks, field coordinator for the Justice for Cecily Support Team.


Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AARON MATÉ: An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of assaulting a New York City police officer, but critics say the trial should have been about the police assaulting her. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park six months after Occupy began. McMillan was convicted of deliberately striking Officer Grantley Bovell with her elbow, leaving him with a black eye. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. To support this claim, defense lawyers showed photos of bruising to her chest during trial. In addition to her injuries, McMillan says she went into a seizure as officers pinned her down. She was later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
AMY GOODMAN: But prosecutors rejected Cecily McMillan's claims and suggested she may have even caused the bruises to her body herself. After a four-week trial, the jury took just three hours Monday to deliver a verdict. The judge in the case rejected defense pleas to allow her release on bail. As outraged supporters chanted "Shame," McMillian was placed in handcuffs and taken to Rikers Island. She'll remain there until sentencing in two weeks, when she faces up to seven years in prison.
In a moment, we'll be joined by her attorney and a friend, but first I want to turn back to our interview we did in 2012 that we did in 2012 with Cecily McMillan when she joined us on Democracy Now! just six days after her arrest. This is part of that interview.
AMY GOODMAN: We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Cecily, you limped in here. You're very bruised. You have a bruise over your left eye. And I can see, with yourthe scoop neck of your T-shirt, you are scratched and it is black and blue. It is
CECILY McMILLAN: A handprint.
AMY GOODMAN: the shape of a hand. Black and blue, the shape of a hand.
CECILY McMILLAN: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: That is above your right breast. And then your arms. Your arms are black and blue around both elbows. You've got finger marks of black and blue on both arms. And you're clearly
CECILY McMILLAN: My back.
AMY GOODMAN: in a lot of pain on your back, and we can't show those bruises now. Your ribswhat happened?
CECILY McMILLAN: My ribs are really bruised.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to you? You went out on Saturday, six-month anniversary of Occupy, with hundreds of other people to Zuccotti. And what took place?
CECILY McMILLAN: Like I said, I haven't seen any of the videos yet. I ended a 40-something-hour stay in jail and ended up with all these bruises. I mean, that'sI have an open case, so I can't talk more about it, and I'm sure you can tell that it would be difficult for me to remember some things. But I have these.
AMY GOODMAN: For more on Cecily McMillan's case, we're joined by two guests. Martin Stolar is a criminal defense attorney who served as co-counsel during the trial. And Lucy Parks is the field coordinator for the Justice for Cecily Support Team.
We welcome you both. Martin Stolar, what happened in this trial? She now has been convicted.
MARTIN STOLAR: Well, she's convicted and is awaiting sentencing. The maximum sentence that she faces is a two- to seven-year term in state prison. It is conceivable that the judge could impose probation, as well. But we are really concerned about an appeal in this case. The nature of the trial was such that the judge excluded some substantial evidence that was favorable to Cecily, in ruling, for example, that several of our character witnesses were cumulative, that we couldn't present different perspectives from Occupy Wall Street and their vision of who Cecily was. The judge prohibited us from questioning the police officer who was assaulted about the lightness of the injury, because later that night, a couple hours after he was given the black eye that led to this conviction, he was banging some Occupy Wall Street protesters' heads on the stairs of a bus, a guy who was in handcuffs. The judge wouldn't let us ask about that. So, on balance, you know, the fact that this prosecution went forward is really what's of concern. This officer got a black eye, a bit of a mouse, and was back on duty a week later, no particular difficulty.
Cecily, regardless of what you think about whether she slugged the cop or not, was severely beaten and was put into a seizure, or what appeared to be a seizure, with some serious physical injuries and a lack oftotal lack of memory about what happened to her. She was then dragged to a hospital, where she was told that she was going to be released, so she said, "All right, I want to go see my own doctor." And then, subsequently, she was told, "You're being charged with assaulting this police officer." She was completely shocked. She had absolutely no idea what she had been arrested for and what she had done or what she had been accused of doing. So the claim that Cecily somehow intentionally assaulted the police officer was a bit ridiculous.
This is a young woman who is known as a nonviolent activist. In fact, on this particular night, she wasn't even out protesting. She was out celebrating St. Patrick's Day and only wound up in Zuccotti Park to meet somebody so they could continue going drinking at the Irish pubs that are down by the Wall Street area. She was caught up in the police department's manufactured need to sweep Zuccotti Park clear on the six-month anniversary of the occupation of the park. They made up a notion that, somehow or other, the park had to be cleaned at midnight; therefore, everybody who had gathered peacefully and in a rather festive and joyful occasion to celebrate the anniversary had to be cleared out. Cecily was among those who were cleared out. What is absurd, and which I have difficulty understanding how the jury could reject it, is that when you look at the video, you see Cecily in a bright green dress. The police officer testified that before she swung her elbow, she said, "Film this. Film this, please," as if she's advertising, in her bright green dress, that, "Hey, I'm going to commit a crime. Why don't you just film it, so everybody can spot me?"
AMY GOODMAN: Let's turn to the footage that was presented in court. Here, you can barely make out Cecily McMillan and a police officer in the crowd. Prosecutors claim the footage shows, as you said, McMillan elbowing Police Officer Grantley Bovell in the face. Explain what it is that we are seeing here.
MARTIN STOLAR: Well, what you're seeing, from the prosecution's point of view, was somebody who, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, just out of the blue, slug a cop. Right? Makes absolutely no sense, given who the person is. When you slow down the video and you look at it frame by frame, you see awhat appears to be the officer's arm across Cecily's torso. And it iswhat her recollection of the event is, is that arm came up and grabbed her breast, and she just reacted. Her elbow went up and hit the police officer in the eye. It's an accident. It was not an intentional effort to prevent the cop from doing his job. And what his job was was escorting Cecily out of the park. It is difficult to believe that Cyrus Vance, who is the elected district attorney of this county, could look at the injuries that Cecily got, herwhat is probably going to be a lifelong course of post-traumatic stress disorder that she's suffering from, and this little black eye that the cop gotnot that he deserved a black eye, but if you grab somebody's breast, then you have to think that something's going to happen.
AARON MATÉ: You had photographs of bruises all over her body. When she came on our show, she was displaying some of them. But the prosecution cast doubt on all this, and one of their claims was that she never told medical officials of her injuries. How did they work to undermine her claims of being injured?
MARTIN STOLAR: That is really one of the more difficult things to understand. April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the District Attorney's Office. However, the DA argued to the jury that because Cecily did not, from the very first hospital she went to, Beekman Downtown, or the second hospital, Bellevuethey argue that because she didn't all of a sudden make an immediate outcry that her breast had been groped by a police officer, therefore it didn't happen. Now, that's really a sexist, anti-woman position. And that they were able to get away with it, whenyou know, with the assistant district attorney being a woman and in Sexual Awareness Week in the DA's Office, to suggest that because of a lack of an outcry that somebody had groped your breast, therefore it didn't happen, that's really ancient history and never should have been allowed.
AMY GOODMAN: Lucy Parks, you're a friend of Cecily, though you weren't there that night. What are you calling for now? She's been convicted. She, to the surprise of many, was actually taken off to Rikers andI'd like to ask about that, as welldenied bail. And in two weeks, the sentence will be determined.
LUCY PARKS: Well, Cecily has a support team, and we're still figuring out what our next step is going to be, because we were allthe verdict came very much like a punch in the gut, and especially the fact that she did get sent straight to Rikers. But, I mean, there was a very organic rally and march that happened last night at Zuccotti Park. We'll also be putting together petitions, call-in days, all that sort of stuff, and also trying to bring together, like, the communities of likelike sort of U.S. activists and anyone who, like, feels strongly about this trial to try and heal and then try and move forward, and also broaden the conversation about the justice system to talk about more people than just Cecily, because she's got it pretty bad, but there are people who have been hurt worse by the justice system even.
AARON MATÉ: The Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, he's obtained indictments against seven Occupy activists between 2011 and 2012 on charges of assaulting police officers. Two pleaded guilty, one was acquitted, and three were allowed to plead guilty on misdemeanors. Do you think that with this prosecution and with this verdict, there was a political message being sent to activists?
LUCY PARKS: I most definitely do. To me, the political message is that dissent isn't really legal anymore. I mean, you can go to a protestnot even to protest, just be thereand get sexually assaulted, accidentally hit a cop and wind up in prison for two to seven years. So that, that's really scary. And I also think that part of why this case was prosecuted so hard was because the NYPD and the criminal justice system in New York wanted to send a message and put, like, its bookend on Occupy, saying, with the guilty verdict, that, like, they've won.
AMY GOODMAN: Marty Stolar, she could have made a plea deal.
MARTIN STOLAR: Well, the only plea deal that was offered was for her to plead guilty to a felony. That is
AMY GOODMAN: Would she have gone to jail in that case?
MARTIN STOLAR: She would have been offered probation as part of the plea.
AMY GOODMAN: So she could have gotten probation.
MARTIN STOLAR: She could have pled guilty to a felony. She could have gotten probation.
AMY GOODMAN: She knew she faced seven years in jail, but felt
MARTIN STOLAR: And she knew she faced seven years in jail, and she chose, because she's alook, she's an innocent woman. And it's unfortunate that sometimes an innocent person gets convicted in the criminal courts. That's what we have appellate courts for. And we will continue the fight to try to get this conviction reversed. It is pretty outrageous that this puts the bookend on Occupy Wall Street. The statistics that you read before about how many people were arrested for assault and how many pleaded guilty are incorrect. Cecily is the only felony conviction after trial for assaulting a police officer. Nobody else was convicted. And over 90 percent of the roughly 3,000 arrests that took place during the time when Occupy Wall Street was active were dismissed. So, why go after Cecily with such a heavy hand? The only explanation that I've ever been able to figure out is that it's an effort to protect the city of New York from a substantial monetary penalty for the conduct and for the treatment that she received in getting beat up, neglected and, finally, hospitalized, and for the lifelong effects that she's going to have from how she was brutalized on the night that she was arrested.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#5
The New York cops demand 7 years for an elbow from a woman?
Reply
#6
Jurors' Remorse

by Abby Zimet


[Image: ceci_arrest_good_xoamfptwvocb5spa4izj.jpg]

A bizarre new twist in the legal and moral clusterf#ck that is the Cecily McMillan trial: Most of the jurors who inexplicably found her guilty of assaulting the cop who sexually assaulted her - none of whom knew the conviction carried a prison sentence - have written the judge seeking leniency for the Occupy activist, arguing "it serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her." Nine of the 12 jurors signed the letter asking for McMillan to get probation or community service, which is what they evidently expected rather than the surreal seven years she now faces, and at least one declared the notion of her doing time "ludicrous." Their shock raises the larger issue of what one critic calls "a judiciary logic stacked against the defendant," along with their apparent blindness to the appalling but evidently by now accepted violence of the NYPD, "rendering McMillan's elbow the most powerful weapon on display in Zuccotti that night." Sentencing is May 19.


[Image: ceci_tease_screenshot-from-2014-04-05-133258.png]


[Image: cecilymcm.jpg]
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Reply
#7
As this judge purposely kept the Jury unaware of the consequences of their deliberations, I'd guess that the judge will give a very harsh sentence. The only hope is on appeal....if there is any justice left in America - something I increasingly find rare to non-existent.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#8
American juries are becoming increasingly moronic and are a danger in and of themselves if you get in front of one. Trayvon Martin being another good example of law-led ignorance and stacking of law against common sense.
Reply
#9
She would likely serve close to her "full" stretch prior to all her appeals being exhausted, as there might be "good conduct" time and possibly parole release. I'm glad that in Texas, juries have the power to force a probation sentence, if not the actual terms of the probation.


I personally think that juries do a good job, but you never can tell what fact(s), or lack thereof, will cause a jury to coalesce around a unanimous verdict. Much of the time, jurors find especially important evidence, or lack of evidence, that the lawyers didn't really argue about during the trial. Remember also that juries are not, generally, salaried employees of the government, and judges generally are.


Judges often have thier hands tied by state, or federal, law about informing juries of the legal consequences of their findings. That is because such information is generally considered a judicial "comment on the weight of the evidence;" i.e. an attempt to influence the outcome, which we don't want. It's far better to have juries make their decisions on the facts before them, and not on a desired outcome, even though, at times, it leads to an undesireable outcome. (We can leave "making law based on desired outcomes" to the appellate courts.)
Reply
#10
Nine members of the jury that convicted McMillan have said they were unaware she faced up to seven years in prison for the assault, and are requesting leniency for her from the judge. "We feel that the felony mark on Cecily's record is punishment enough for this case and that it serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her for any amount of time," the petition read.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  The Cost Of Political Resistance - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 0 11,694 08-11-2017, 12:40 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Abuse of HIstory - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 0 13,038 28-09-2017, 10:36 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  American Irrationalism - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 6 12,882 01-11-2016, 07:12 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Hedges - The Real Enemy Is Within! Peter Lemkin 0 7,597 08-09-2015, 09:36 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Chris Hedges - The Great Unraveling - USA on the brink of neo-fascist police state Peter Lemkin 6 18,618 02-09-2015, 01:13 PM
Last Post: Drew Phipps
  "We are in a revolutionary moment”: Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 0 5,185 17-06-2015, 03:56 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Shooting the Messenger - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 4 7,525 13-02-2015, 05:42 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  The Imperative of Revolt - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 0 3,086 21-10-2014, 04:10 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  U.S. Justice as Farce: The Ordeal of Stanley L. Cohen - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 2 3,793 06-10-2014, 05:10 PM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  The Ghoulish Face of Empire - Chris Hedges Peter Lemkin 3 4,597 24-06-2014, 08:01 PM
Last Post: Albert Doyle

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)