Occupy activist leaves NYC jail after 58 days

  • Article by: DEEPTI HAJELA
  • Associated Press
  • July 2, 2014 - 2:40 PM

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

Cecily McMillan, convicted on May 5 of assaulting a police officer, served 58 days in jail.

McMillan, who had faced up to seven years in prison, became a cause celebre. Director Spike Jonze, Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, some City Council members and several of the jurors who convicted her wrote to the court asking for leniency. More than 171,000 people signed an online petition. Members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot visited her behind bars.

After her release, McMillan spoke to reporters outside the Rikers Island jail complex about the women she had met inside, saying they want better health care and more resources for drug rehabilitation and education.

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

McMillan was arrested as activists observed 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. She said police then roughed her up while arresting her as she suffered what she believed was a seizure.

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