crimes and misdemeanors

Juror Describes Deliberations That Led to Occupy Wall Street Protester’s Conviction

Cecily McMillan arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, New York, USA, 07 April 2014.
Photo: Andrew Gombert/epa/Corbis

On Monday, 25-year-old Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was convicted of second-degree assault for elbowing police officer Grantley Bovell in the eye as he broke up a March 2012 demonstration. Though the jury of eight women and four men apparently did not believe that McMillan was merely reacting to someone grabbing her breast, at least one anonymous juror told The Guardian that she and others on the panel “felt bad” about the verdict now that they know that McMillan could get up to seven years in prison at her May 19 sentencing. “Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service,” said the juror. “But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.”

She also claimed to have been in favor of acquitting McMillan, but later voted to convict when she began to feel that doing otherwise was “a losing battle.” The juror added that while two other people on the jury had also initially sided with McMillan, they switched to the majority opinion after rewatching the grainy footage of her hitting Bovell. That account seemed to confirm what McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, said about the video after the conviction. “I think that is the only piece of evidence that a jury could hang its hat on,” he said, before again arguing that it didn’t tell the whole story.

Juror Talks About Cecily McMillan’s Conviction