Cecily McMillan Sentenced to 90 Days for Felony Assault During Occupy Protest

It may not be the quite the sentence that her supporters were rooting for, but the saga of Cecily McMillan is closer to a close, after the young woman who was accused of assaulting a police office during an Occupy Wall Street protest has learned what her punishment will be.

Cecily McMillan has received a sentence of 90 days in prison, followed by 5 years probation, a result of her arrest in 2012 in Zuccotti Park where she elbowed an officer in the face, which McMillan claimed was unintentional and a reaction to his grabbing her breast from behind. The charges against McMillan came with a potential seven years maximum sentence, making the much less severe punishment somewhat of a relief, likely even to the jurors on her own trial, many of whom believed she should get only probation.

McMillan’s support team, however, says that there is no justice in any sentence, since McMillan was simply defending herself. “Today, Cecily McMillan was sentenced to 90 days in prison for being sexually assaulted by a police officer at a protest, and then responding to that violence by defending herself,” they said in a statement. “We all know that Cecily did not receive a fair trial and this case will be fought in the Court of Appeals.”

It was a sentiment that McMillan herself echoed prior to hearing her sentence. “Whether personal or political, violence is not permitted. This being a law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of,” McMillan said, according to Huffington Post. “I cannot confess to a crime that I did not commit. I cannot throw away my dignity in return for my freedom.”

McMillan’s legal team has already filed a motion to attempt to remove the felony from her record, and it is sounding increasingly likely that an appeal will be filed as well. Although the jury reached a unanimous verdict during the trial, after researching exactly what McMillan could be charged with — the possible 7 year sentence and the permanent felony designation on her record – 9 of the 12 jurors wrote a letter to the judge asking him to consider leniency.

“We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan,” it read. “We would ask the court to consider probation with community service…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 judge, however, determined that McMillan needed to have at least some jail time “to send the message that assaults on police officers would not be tolerated,” according to the New York Times. He also mandated that McMillan undergo a mental health exam as part of her sentence.

McMillan has already served 2 weeks in Riker’s Island, which will be put towards her 90 day sentence. She also has the possibility of an early release for good behavior.

Photo: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Unfair punishment for being sexually assaulted.

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago

I'm glad she didn't get the maximum, but this is pretty terrible

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Liliana, unfortuantely the cops have been doing that since before the Haymarket Square riots in the 19th century. It is evil an evil thing to do, but it ususally works for them (this case being one example of that).

Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia3 years ago

Karen: Thanks! BTW, your post highlights a problem many of us have had for a long time here in San Juan and elsewhere. The use of plainclothes officers to start a riot, persecute and bring in false charges. We have them here in teachers' union strikes, in rallies by the pro independence movements as well as in many other instances of public protests. I've seen it with my eyes a number of times. The "common" people, pay these people's checks to have them turn against them as enemies. It's psychopathic.

Karen H.
Karen H3 years ago

Wow, two weeks on Riker’s Island for self-defense. What does New York do to really dangerous criminals? And what’s with the judge mandating a mental health exam as part of McMillan’s sentence? For what? Reacting when someone grabbed her breast? He was plainclothes - did she know the person who grabbed her breast from behind was a cop? Why didn’t he grab her arm or grab her around the waist? Why wasn’t he in uniform? Why grab her breast? To cop a feel? If somebody—police officer or not—grabbed my breast from behind, I’d elbow him too. How would the judge react if someone grabbed him by the cojones from behind?
The judge sided with the police “to send the message that assaults on police officers would not be tolerated,” yet he did not send the message that sexual assault of women will not be tolerated, whether it’s done by a police officer or a degenerate. Or, in this case, are they synonymous?
McMillan had a seizure, which the police ignored and let her lie handcuffed on the ground without medical aid. She had bruises and suffered a broken rib.
One also has to ask whether Ms. McMillan was targeted. This was not her first protest, and she had been profiled in Rolling Stone. Perhaps one of the Wall Street big-wigs decided to teach her a lesson by having her singled out by a plainclothes cop, hoping she’d react in a way that would result in arrest.
Kevin, I’d give you more stars if I could.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Sad.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

"The judge also mandated that McMillan undergo a mental health exam as part of her sentence."

Yeah, you must be crazy if you care about social justice in this country and all sane women want thugs from the police department to paw at their breasts, right?

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

She gets sent to jail for reacting, during a peaceful protest, when a thug in a police uniform grabs her boob and, meantime, armed terrorists aligned with Calvin Bundy threaten federal law enforcement officers in Colorado and don't get so much as a ticket?

Okay, do I see a pattern here? Left wing protesters, fighting against injustice go to jail. Right wing protesters threatening deadly violence to protect a right wing welfare cheat go unpunished.

There you go folks, America at its best!

Elizabeth F.
Elizabeth F3 years ago