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90 days in jail for resisting sexual assault: Sharia law in New York City?

Photos of Cecily McMillan and her arrest at occupy wall street, 2012
Photos of Cecily McMillan and her arrest at occupy wall street, 2012

The NYPD succeeded this month in their attempts to imprison Cecily McMillan, the 25 year old sexual assault victim accused of attacking NYPD officer Grantley Bovell during a March 17th 2012 occupy protest. According to Cecily and others present at the scene, she instinctively elbowed Bovell after having her breasts fondled from behind by the officer. Unlike other rapists or sexual predators, police officers have been known to commit their crimes under the guise of "official police business," adding an especially insidious aspect to their acts.

Cecily McMillan

Not surprisingly, McMillan was immediately swept into the vortex of "assaulting a police officer," a modern day scarlet letter label amounting essentially to guaranteed jail time regardless of evidence. Police need only to say that they were attacked, and the entire legal system treats their often uncorroborated testimony as undeniable fact. This obscene double standard in our legal system serves to dampen dissent or resistance to police authority, and also to provide officers with a contrived sense of comradery with the ruling class for whom they work.

It is within this environment that McMillan accuses Grantley Bovell of sexaul assault. While ample evidence of McMillan's injuries has been produced both publicly and during the trial, evidence of officer Bovell's "black eye" and subsequent "headaches" is a bit more elusive, with little more than Bovell's courtroom testimony being offered. Originally Cecily was facing up to 7 years in prison. However, after mounting public opposition her sentence was dropped to 90 days on Riker's Island, the notorious prison in which inmates routinely die in their cells after being neglected abused or tortured.

This is a common tactic of the American judicial system, in which a victim is terrorized with the looming possibility of a long jail sentence, and then often grateful to the system when receiving a comparatively short one. The reality, however, is that Cecily McMillan will spend three months of her life in captivity for trying not to get raped. Here's part of what her support team had to say after the trial:

We all know Cecily did not receive a fair trial, and this case will be fought in the Court of Appeals... The DA and the courts want to make an example of Cecily to deter us, to scare us, to keep us out of the streets. And we won't let that happen. This ruling will not deter us, it will strengthen our resolve.