A 23-year-old Occupy Wall Street activist, Cecily McMillan, whose encounter with police left her bleeding and hospitalized for several days now faces assault charges which could lock her away for seven years. The charges stem from her accidental, reflexive elbowing of an officer in the eye as he touched her (reportedly on her breast) from behind. (And even if it weren’t accidental, seven years for elbowing? Really?)
The Guardian reports:
McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told the Guardian that while there was “no question” the officer was struck below the eye by McMillan’s elbow, he planned to argue that no crime had been committed.
“The question for the jury is whether she intentionally assaulted him,” Stolar said. “We’re going to present evidence that indicates: No1 that she had no idea it was a police officer behind her and No2 that she reacted when someone grabbed her right breast.”
Stolar said it was being grabbed from behind that prompted McMillan to throw the elbow.
McMillan herself commented after the incident, “My body is bruised from head to toe, and I’ve been in and out of three hospitals, two clinics…I was going to make a statement about my condition, but also about my innocence of the charges being brought against me. I expect to be fully vindicated, despite other accusations. And I also was going to reiterate publicly my long-standing commitment to nonviolence…”
The trial was scheduled to begin Monday.