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by Peter Moskos

May 5, 2014

The jury has spoken

I wasn't there; I didn't attend the trial; so far be it from me to assert "the truth" of what happened at an Occupy Wall Street gathering in March, 2012.

From the video, she sure looks guilty as sin (bottom left of the frame, at 22 seconds):

A jury of 12 thought similarly, and found Cecily McMillan guild of felony assault on a police officer, which is a pretty serious offense.

Can't you be pro-Occupy and also not pro-elbowing cops?

Like all trials, the problem, if it is problem, is the trial isn't about greater issues. It's about the person on trial and the single criminal act they are being tried for. That's it. Despite the efforts of Cecily's supporters, this trial wasn't about Occupy or the police.

From the Times:
A video corroborated Officer Bovell’s account. Ms. McMillan is seen bending her knees, then throwing her right elbow into the officer’s eye. She lurches forward, runs a few steps, then is tackled by several officers.

Ms. McMillan testified she had no recollection of hitting the officer, but recalled what she thought was someone trying to grope her. “All of a sudden I feel somebody grab me from behind, from my right breast, and pull me backward,” she said.
Erin Choi, an assistant district attorney, in her summation accused Ms. McMillan of lying about Officer Bovell groping her for the sake of publicity. She showed stills from the onlooker’s video, and called Ms. McMillan a manipulator “constantly scheming” to gain attention.... “That’s how she benefited from this nonsense. She wanted to become the face of Occupy Wall Street.”
She was one of the few protesters arrested during three months of Occupy Wall Street protests who opted for a trial. She said she did so because the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., would not agree to let her plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and a felony conviction would linger on her record, hampering her career for the rest of her life.


campbell said...

Ms. McMillan testified she had no recollection of hitting the officer...

People, make your lies believable, it'll help your chances in court. Alternatively, do that nonsense somewhere like Utah where simple assault on a PO is a class A misdemeanor rather than a felony. Sure, you might get your ass kicked but at least you won't be a felon.

PCM said...

It was just instinct, man... She just reacted... Just like she learned in that self-defense class she took...

(But just for the record the officer did at one point testify that his other got hit.)

Memory is never great...

But yeah, I don't believe her. And neither did the jury.

Anonymous said...

compare and contrast:


PCM said...

Pogan should have been found guilty of assault. The judge showed mercy, perhaps a bit too much. Either way, Pogan is a convicted liar, a felon, and no longer a cop.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog entry on the trial:


PCM said...

Interesting. Thanks. Though ultimately unconvincing, because there is not a greater context (there could conceivably be an immediate context) in which it's OK to elbow a police officer in the eye.

The police weren't on trial. She was.

For better or worse, that's the way our court system works.

Just imagine flip-side: a cop shoots an unarmed person and then uses at his defense all the other assholes and armed people "like the guy he shot" that the police officer had come across in that neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Did you look at the photo of the hand shaped bruise on her breast?

There is a Constitutional right to resist excessive force.

Nine of the jurors wrote a letter to the judge recommending no jail time.

I have a feeling she will get a new trial on appeal, and that the new trial will be more permissive as far as what evidence the defense is allowed to introduce and more restrictive as far as what evidence the prosecutor is allowed to introduce.

campbell said...

Her statement regarding that bruise.


"As I have no memory of my elbow coming into contact with the officer's face," she said, "I've watched it hundreds of times trying to make sense of what happened."..."All of the sudden I feel somebody grab me from behind, from my right breast, and pull me backward," she said. "I was lifted in the air and then I felt my face slammed to the ground."

And the reality. (better zoomed in version of the video)


PCM said...

Anonymous, I'm not convinced that bruise is from the cop. There's no proof it is. (And some proof it isn't.)

There pretty absolute proof -- the video -- that her assault wasn't self-defense in response to excessive force.

I understand what she's *saying*, but the difference is you believe and I don't (and neither did the jury).

And she won't get a new trial. No chance. (There is a chance she could be acquitted on some legal technicality, but it's unlikely.)

I also don't think she should do more time in jail or prison. But that's more about my ideas of crime and punishment and the US justice system than anything related to this case.

Defendants should not be punished for exercising their constitutional rights. But that is exactly what happens when people demand a jury trial. That isn't fair. But it's got nothing to do with her guilt or innocence.