Saturday, June 10, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Embattled Occupier|Cleared of Latest Charges

MANHATTAN (CN) - The Occupy Wall Street activist convicted this summer of punching a cop fared better Friday in an unrelated criminal trial that also involved police.

Cecily McMillan, 25, was accused in this case of intervening on Dec. 7, 2013, as a pair of plain-clothed officers stopped a couple suspected of entering an emergency exit in an L train subway station without paying.

After a weeklong trial and three hours of deliberation in Manhattan Criminal Court, a six-person jury of four women and two men found McMillan not guilty Friday of the misdemeanor charges stemming from that incident.

McMillan cried, smiled and hugged her attorney, Martin Stolar, in response to the verdict, which drew cheers from the audience.

Still crying afterward in the hall, McMillan said she was "shocked" but felt "fantastic."

"I'm so ready to get out of this town," McMillan said through happy tears.

Prosecutors said McMillan yelled to the couple not to cooperate with the officers, and shook the male suspect's identification out of his hand as he went to give it to the officers.

McMillan then allegedly falsely proclaimed to be an attorney and tried to prevent officers from taking the couple to a police precinct. As officers processed the couple, McMillan violently rattled the doors of the precinct to interrupt them, the prosecutors say.

At an impromptu rally after Friday's hearing, McMillan told a crowd of about 30 that her Occupy activism made her a target for prosecution.

"The sexism was apparent in both cases," she said in front of a "Free Cecily" banner that supporters had created. "They were trying to create a scenario that I'm a hysteric woman."

She told supporters that, on the night of her second arrest, police took her glasses. And because she's "legally blind," she began to cry, to which a female officer allegedly told her: "Want your glasses bitch? Quit crying."

McMillan ended the gathering by saying: "If you see something, say something, but not to the police. We need to start to work together and remember they work for us, or should be."

Stolar, McMillan's attorney, admitted during his closing testimony Thursday that his client might have been "obnoxious" but didn't break the law.

"Being annoying, being obnoxious, being disturbing, using loud language is not yet a crime," Stolar said.

"We have not yet criminalized being loud and obnoxious and annoying," he said Thursday.

McMillan was convicted in May of felony charges for elbowing a police officer during an Occupy Wall Street rally. She claimed he had grabbed her breast from behind and threw her to the ground.

Stolar made a thinly veiled reference to that trial as he rode down the elevator with McMillan's supporters after the verdict.

"It's nice to win once in a while," Stolar said.

McMillan indicated after Thursday's decision that she planned to appeal the felony conviction for which she received a three-month prison sentence.


Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.