We’re Watching You, NYPD: A Petition To Drop the Charges Against Cecily McMillan
The exposition: Cecily McMillan is an activist who was involved in Occupy Wall Street, where she promoted nonviolent forms of protest. However, the night she was arrested, she was in Zucotti Park with plans to meet up with friends simply to go out for St. Patrick’s Day. When officers announced they were clearing the park, she headed for the exit — until her breast was suddenly grabbed from behind. She startled and in a visceral reaction, flailed out in alarm. Her elbow hit her assailant, who turned out to be a police officer, Grantley Bovell. Cecily was arrested for assaulting a police officer, was beaten, suffered a seizure while police officers silently looked on, and was denied constitutional rights in custody. Officer Bovell is charged with nothing. Cecily is charged with a felony and faces up to seven years in prison.
The trial so far has been an absolute circus. The judge seems annoyed that the defense is taking up his time with crazy things like evidence and providing context, and so has consistently ruled in favor of the prosecution. So far, Cecily has been called a “fraud” for her nonviolent ideology, it has been implied that the bruises on her breast were self-inflicted, the lawyers have been given a gag order, important video footage has been banned from evidence, Bovell’s prior misconduct has been swept under the rug, and Cecily’s been accused of faking her seizure. Desperate to cover up the horrific brutality of the NYPD, the prosecution seem determined to change the conversation — but this young woman is caught in the crossfire.
So what do we do? Here’s a place to start:
I know, I know. A petition? Really? However, this particular one’s in a position to have an impact. It was mentioned today in court, which means that it has reached the people who need to read it and they are seeing how many people sign it. Whether they like it or not, they’re finding out just how many people know that there’s a serious injustice being done here, and it will not go unnoticed.
The #MyNYPD Twitter campaign was a powerful reaction to the epidemic of police brutality in New York City, but let’s make it clear that it wasn’t a fluke. People are watching.
For more information about Cecily McMillan’s trial, read the story here, visit justiceforcecily.com or search #Justice4Cecily on Twitter.