As Cecily McMillan was led to a cell in handcuffs amid uproar from her supporters, the 12 jurors who had just convicted the Occupy Wall Street activist of assaulting a New York police officer were whisked away in a police van. On the two-mile trip north through Manhattan to Union Square, where they were deposited well away from Monday's courtroom commotion, some pulled out mobile phones and began searching online for news on the trial they had just spent a month of their lives considering.
Finally freed from a ban on researching the case, including potential punishments, some were shocked to learn that they had just consigned the 25-year-old to a sentence of up to seven years in prison, one told the Guardian. “They felt bad,” said the juror, who did not wish to be named. “Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service. But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.”
Though it came as a surprise to some of the eight women and four men who found her guilty of second-degree assault, McMillan said that the potential prison sentence had been on her mind for the two years since she was arrested for elbowing Officer Grantley Bovell in the face at a demonstration in Zuccotti Park, where protesters had gathered to mark six months of the Occupy movement.