Target: Cyrus Vance, Jr, New York District Attorney
Goal: Free woman facing seven years in prison for defending herself from sexual assault
An Occupy Wall Street activist is facing seven years in prison for defending herself against a police officer who sexually assaulted her. Cecily McMillan was arrested alongside 70 others during the 6 month anniversary of the Occupy movement’s kickoff. She has been denied bail until sentencing while the officer that assaulted her faces no disciplinary action whatsoever.
While participating in a demonstration in New York City’s Zucotti Park, an officer approached Ms. McMillan from behind and violently grabbed her breast, prompting her to instinctively elbow her attacker before knowing who it was. After being arrested, handcuffed, and left on a curb, she was denied medical attention during a seizure-like panic attack.
During Ms. McMillan’s trial, the judge ruled that evidence of the offending officer’s previous violent tendencies would not be heard. The jury heard nothing of the violent nature of the police toward protesters, nor did they hear testimony from any of the many journalists and activists that experienced similar violence at the hands of the same officer.
Despite photographic evidence of heavy bruising on Cecily’s breast and ribs, it was determined that she was not defending herself against any attack made by an officer, and instead, resisting arrest. She now faces seven years in prison.
When a citizen is sexually abused by an officer of the law, it is the duty of the justice system to ensure that the officer is reprimanded. While the officer has faced no repercussions for his violence against several citizens, Ms. McMillan is expected to serve a prison sentence disproportionate to her offense. Your signature will demand that a new trial be conducted where the jury will hear all sides of the case, including the previously disallowed testimony of the victims of police violence.
Dear Mr. Cyrus Vance, Jr,
Cecily McMillan faces up to seven years incarceration for defending herself when she was sexually assaulted by a police officer during a protest in Zucotti Park. An officer approached her from behind and forcefully groped her breast, prompting her to react by elbowing her unseen attacker. The officer then arrested Cecily for her violence, and received no reprimand for his violence against Ms. McMillan or several other citizens.
During the trial, the judge disallowed evidence of police violence during the Zucotti Park protests, including testimony from other victims of the same officer’s violence. Cecily’s trial was unfairly biased and allowed the prosecution to paint the officer as wholly innocent. I demand that the verdict be thrown out, and that a fair trial is conducted where all relevant evidence is heard.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Shankbone via Flickr Creative Commons