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Dozens rally for leniency for Occupy protester Cecily McMillan
Elected officials and dozens of New Yorkers who are sympathetic to the cause of Cecily McMillan rallied outside City Hall Monday in solidarity of the Occupy Wall Street protester who faces seven years behind bars for assaulting an cop during a 2012 protest.
City Councilman Ydnais Rodriguez, who was arrested during an Occupy protest in 2011, said the 25-year-old graduate student shouldn't face the prison time for the second degree assault conviction.
The councilman, who was joined by his Council colleagues Robert Cornegy, Laurie Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal, said McMillan's punishment would also deter others from rallying in support of the 99%.
"We are here to say we want justice. We are here to say Cecily should do time served and community service," he said.
On May 5, a Manhattan jury convicted McMillan for elbowing Officer Grantley Bovell in the face during a March 17, 2012 protest at Zuccotti Park. The protester contended she was acting in self-defense after the cop grabbed her breast while he tried to arrest her.
McMillan has been remanded at Rikers Island since her conviction, which is being appealed by her attorney, but she has received wide support.
"Seven years for her and only a few blocks away 'banksters' walk the streets during their lunch hour free and clear," said Bishop George Packard.
Members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot visited her in jail and filmmaker Michael Moore also urged the judge not to give her a severe punishment. Several jurors wrote a letter to the judge, urging him to not McMillan the the maximum penalty during her May 19 sentencing.
McMillan's supporters plan to rally again Sunday at Union Square Park.
"We are here because even tough . . . Zuccotti Park is done, occupy will be in New York City forever," Rodriguez said.