As Another Major Bank Avoids Jail, Occupy Wall Street Protester Cecily McMillan Gets 3-Month Term

20.05.2014 - Democracy Now!

While no Credit Suisse executives will be heading to jail for facilitating widespread tax evasion, Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan has been sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation. McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park. She was convicted of deliberately striking an officer with her elbow. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. Facing up to seven years in prison, McMillan’s case sparked national outcry and pleas for leniency — even from a majority of the jurors who initially found her guilty. We hear from a group of McMillan’s supporters who spoke outside the courthouse on Monday following her sentencing, and speak to two guests: Ryan Devereaux, a reporter with The Intercept who covered the Occupy protests, and James Henry, a lawyer and an economist.

Transcript

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

AARON MATÉ: Well, while no Credit Suisse executives will be heading to jail for facilitating widespread tax evasion, a New York City judge has sentenced an Occupy Wall Street protester to three months in jail and five years of probation. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park. She was convicted of deliberately striking an officer with her elbow. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. McMillan faced up to seven years in prison. Her case sparked a national outcry and pleas for leniency, even from a majority of the jurors who initially found her guilty. Many of her supporters say the trial should have been about the police assaulting her, not vice versa.

AMY GOODMAN: After Monday’s sentencing, supporters of McMillan spoke outside the courthouse. The speakers included Lucy Parks of the Justice for Cecily Support Team and McMillan’s surrogate mother, L Nyrobi Moss. But first, her lawyer, Martin Stolar.

MARTIN STOLAR: History will say that there was overpolicing of the Occupy Wall Street movement and that Cecily McMillan became an object of prosecution. I don’t see any reason why Cecily would be prosecuted for a felony, except to send the message out that says do not get yourself involved in protests, do not get yourself involved in demonstrations; otherwise, we’re going to severely deal with you, if we have a reason to do so. The fact that 90 percent of all the Occupy arrests were dismissed tells me that the police department made such bad arrests that not even the DA’s office could go forward and prosecute them.

REPORTER: How did this case compare with—you said you’ve done this a long time. This case any different, or it stands out at all?

MARTIN STOLAR: This case is—it’s extraordinarily different. It is a felony for assaulting a police officer. There were half a dozen other charges that were brought for people from Occupy that are accused of assaulting a police officer, but they were dropped, they were lowered. People were given ACPs. People were given repleaders. And people took disorderly conduct.

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