A protester facing class D felony charges for assaulting a police officer claims that she was, in fact, the one assaulted – and she’s got pictures to prove it.
The protester is Cecily McMillan. The altercation between her and New York Police Department Officer Grantley Bovell took place on March 18, 2012. On that night, protesters gathered in a New York park.
As the park grew crowded, NYPD officers were told to clear the group out. Officer Bovell and other NYPD officers began rounding up protesters and forcibly removing them from the park.
During the clearing, McMillan felt a hand grab her breast from behind. She instinctively threw an elbow at the groper, hitting him under the eye. The man she hit turned out to be Officer Bovell.
McMillan was immediately detained and put in handcuffs. In the days following her arrest, she told media outlets that police used excessive force against her during her detainment. After being released, McMillan went to The Institute of Family Health in Manhattan and had pictures taken of her body. The pictures validate her claim that someone did indeed grab her breast and use excessive force when handling her.
Here they are:
On the night she was arrested, McMillan suffered an epileptic seizure after being handcuffed. A witness video shows NYPD officers standing over McMillan and watching as she convulses on the ground. The officers never undid her handcuffs during the seizure.
McMillan was on the ground for roughly 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived. Here is the witness video:
McMillan’s trial was set to begin on February 6, but got pushed back because a judge hadn’t yet been selected.
In a March 2012 statement McMillan said she is confident the trial will clear her of any wrongdoing.
“I am innocent of any wrongdoing, and confident I will be vindicated,” she said, adding that she has a “long-standing personal commitment to non-violence.”