From Occupy movement to American Spring

Updated: 2014-05-10 09:34

By Chen Weihua (China Daily)

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From Occupy movement to American SpringOn Monday in New York City, 25-year-old graduate student Cecily McMillan was convicted of felony for elbowing police officer Grantley Bovell in the face when he led her out of the Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan on the night of March 17, 2012. New York police were trying to clear protesters in the park that day, the six month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.

McMillan said she only swung her arm instinctively after her right breast was grabbed from behind. Photos of bruising to her chest were shown during the trial on Monday.

McMillan also had a seizure as the police pinned her down. It was clearly an assault on her by the police officer.

However, judge Ronald Zweibel ordered McMillan to be held without bail until final sentencing on May 19. She was handcuffed and taken to Rikers Island, a New York City jail in the East River.

Supporters for McMillan shouted "shame" and refused to leave the courtroom when the verdict was read. Under the law, McMillan could face up to seven years in jail.

Although I was not a witness in the McMillan case, police brutality was not rare when I followed closely the OWS in New York City in late 2011. I was one of the few people on the Brooklyn Bridge not handcuffed by the cops because we had an official press pass. A New York Times freelancer was cuffed and taken away with some 700 protesters on the bridge when she failed to show a press pass.

On several occasions at Zuccotti Park, also known as Liberty Plaza Park, and areas around Wall Street, I saw several police officers jumping on non-violent protesters, pushing them down on the ground and handcuffing them.

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