Social justice organizer, prison rights advocate, writer and theatre artist.
Cecily McMillan is an American activist, advocate for prisoner rights and writer who was arrested and subsequently convicted of felony second-degree assault after a New York City Police officer assaulted her during the six month anniversary celebration of Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012.
McMillan's highly publicized arrest and trial led to her being called a "cause célèbre of the Occupy Wall Street movement". Her trial and conviction were criticized as a "miscarriage of justice," as the prosecution falsified evidence and the judge disallowed the defense to introduce the officer's lengthy record of brutality as well as video evidence of the largely violent (and illegal) NYPD raid that evening. On May 5, 2014, McMillan was unjustly convicted of felony second-degree assault and was subsequently sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation. Her case is currently pending appeal, and she has also filed a civil suit against the City of New York.
On July 2, 2014, McMillan was released on good behavior from Rikers Island Correctional Facility after serving 58 days of her jail sentence at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Following her release, McMillan advocated for the plight of inmates and brought increased media attention to the relationship between race, poverty and incarceration: she co-founded #ResistRikers, a protest organization led by formerly incarcerated people and has written about her experience in the New York Times and Al Jazeera. Her memoir ("The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan") is forthcoming from Nation Books.