Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was sentenced to three months in jail back in May for elbowing New York City Police Officer Grantley Bovell in the eye during a clearing of Zuccotti Park on March 18, 2012.
According to the New York Daily News, McMillan claimed that Officer Bovell grabbed her breast from behind, so she instinctively swung her elbow. Officer Bovell claimed that he grabbed her shoulder.
After the jury found her guilty, nine jurors sent a letter to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel requesting that McMillan not be jailed, but be given community service instead.
McMillan was credited for two weeks that she spent in jail before her trial, and got an early release from Rikers Island prison on July 2.
According to a report today by The New York Times, there are numerous instances of Rikers Island prison employees beating inmates with impunity.
McMillan recently appeared on Democracy Now! where she detailed some of the medical neglect of female prisoners that she witnessed during her time in Rikers Island prison (video below).
McMillan recalled that a newly-imprisoned 17-year-old girl, who was delusional and could not make medical decisions for herself, was denied care and eventually died.
"And it was not until all of the inmates rose up, I mean, got her dressed and carried her down and said, 'This is a medical emergency. You have to take her to the hospital,'" said McMillan.
"And even then, the doctor, as she’s standing there covered with her own blood, said, 'Huh! You call this a medical emergency?' And they waited there with her until they made sure she went to the hospital, where she remained in critical care condition until her death a couple of weeks ago," added McMillan
"I witnessed women that had stomach cancer, that could not help themselves up, that had been crying out for hours, their bunky’s roommate, their family, until medical professionals showed up with a gurney and would not help her up on the gurney as the gurney moved to two wheels," stated McMillan. "They said, 'We’re not helping her.' And, I mean, again, every single day there was something like this."
McMillan now plans to advocate on behalf of the inmates at Rikers Island.
"I will be calling on the Mayor’s Office, City Council, the Board of Corrections. We have already started looking into what community oversight councils they have, and there are few, and not at all very working. We’ll be calling for every inmate to have a full and thorough physical examination and psychosocial examination upon entering the facility," said McMillan.
"We’ll be asking that the protocol that governs Rikers is reviewed and made sure that it’s in the best interest of all of the inmates. We’ll also be asking for a grievance process. At this point, the director of grievances told me point-blank she’s not accountable to uphold the inmate handbook because she didn’t write it."
McMillan is due back in court on July 17 to face charges that she interfered with an NYPD arrest in a subway station.