Today, Judge Ronald Zweibel sentenced Occupy protester Cecily McMillan to three months in prison and five years probation. After the sentencing, McMillan's lawyer Martin Stolar thanked her supporters grouped outside 100 Centre Street and confirmed he has already begun the process of appealing the sentence and overturning the conviction, though the process may outlast the sentence itself.
It's a light sentence considering she was facing up to seven years, but protesters are still enraged that she faces any jail time at all. McMillan was convicted of second-degree assault of a police officer—a felony—after she elbowed officer Grantley Bovell in reaction to him grabbing her breast from behind. When her jurors found out she faced up to seven years, nine of the twelve jurors wrote in to ask the judge for a more lenient sentence. On top of that, members of Pussy Riot have expressed solidarity with McMillan, having visited her at Rikers Island and "identified with Cecily's plight, especially the disproportionate sentencing she faces." And a handful of artists including Shepard Fairey, Kim Gordon, Spike Jonze, JD Samson, Justin Vivian Bond, and Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches have also written letters to Judge Ronald Zweibel pleading for leniency.
In an interview with Mashable, McMillan stated she was prepared for a sentence of two years, but when asked if she was prepared for seven, she responded:
I guess I'm prepared to face the consequences of my actions, um, if that means standing up for what I believe in, um, standing up for especially what I consider not a political ideology but a personal ideology, non-violence and honesty, the only two things that allow me to live in such a violent and inhumane world. Without that dignity and without those values, uh, it would be impossible for me to tolerate or deal with the violence of the world around me. So it's not really choice.
Image via Getty.