On Monday, Chrishuan “CeCe” McDonald will stand trial for second-degree homicide stemming from an altercation outside of a Minneapolis bar last June, but supporters of the 23-year-old transgender woman say she is the real victim in this case.
On June 5, 2011, two white women and a white man reportedly began harassing CeCe and four of her trans friends, calling them racial and homophobic slurs. One woman allegedly hit Cece in the side of the face with a glass beer mug and when 47-year-old Dean Schmitz reportedly pursued her, Cece fatally stabbed him with a pair of fabric scissors that had been in her purse.
When police arrived on the scene they arrested Cece and no one else. The young woman received 11 stitches after her salivary gland was lacerated and the side of her cheek was sliced open by the beer mug, and according to reports she was interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement, pending the outcome of her upcoming case.
Joey Mogul, partner at the People’s Law Office in Chicago and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University College of Law, says CeCe is an obvious victim of racism and transgender phobia:
“This is not the first time Schmitz has been known to use [such slurs]…as ‘n***er’ and ‘f*ggot’. It’s my understanding his brother admitted to the press that [Schmitz] is openly racist and trans-phobic. He’s been convicted on three prior cases for acts of violence.”
Pointing out that CeCe had no criminal record at all, he continued: “Why weren’t Schmitz and those with him charged with inciting to riot? Instead, this woman is a witness for the prosecution.”
City Council member Cam Gordon later reported that the Hennepin county medical examiner found a Nazi swastika tattoo on Schmitz’s chest, but in the face of all of this evidence, prosecutor Michael Freeman refuses to drop the case. In fact, after Cece refused a plea agreement on October 6, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office added an additional charge of second-degree murder with intent which means she faces up to 80 years in prison.
Supporters of the young woman have started a website to Support CeCe and encourage those who hear this story to sign a petition to have the prosecution drop the charges. Check out more on the site here.
What do you think about this case?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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