07/03/2014

Occupy activist who assaulted cop leaves jail after 58 days

She could have been sent to prison for seven years, but her case became a cause celebre

By Deepti Hajela
Associated Press

NEW YORK — An Occupy Wall Street activist convicted of one of the few felonies coming out of the protests and released from jail on Wednesday said she is even more committed to activism after serving 58 days.

Cecily McMillan spoke to reporters outside the Rikers Island jail complex, where she had been because of her May 5 conviction of assaulting a police officer.

She could have been sent to prison for seven years, but her case became a cause celebre with even some of the jurors who convicted her asking for leniency. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail and served two-thirds of that under a standard correctional practice of inmates being credited time for good behavior.

McMillan spoke about the women she had met inside Rikers, and their demands for improvements including better health care and more resources for drug rehabilitation and education.

"I walked in with one movement and return to you a representative of another," she said.

McMillan was arrested as activists observed the Occupy's six-month mark on March 17, 2012. Police were clearing people from the movement's former home base at Zuccotti Park.

Prosecutors pointed to video showing McMillan elbowing an officer in the eye as he walked behind her, ushering her along. She said she reacted out of alarm after her breast was grabbed from behind, which the officer denied doing and isn't clear in the video.

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