I am adding my voice to the growing number of those speaking up to support CeCe McDonald and call for fairness, transparency and expediency in her case. Chrishaun CeCe McDonald’s case started with a tragic incident that occurred last summer that left one person dead.
The basic facts don’t seem to be an issue in this case that now centers on CeCe, a 23 year-old African-American transgender woman charged with second-degree murder.
According to Outfront Minnesota, “CeCe and several of her friends, who are all African-American, were walking by a bar in South Minneapolis early on the morning of June 5, 2011 when the incident occurred. A group of much older bar patrons standing outside the bar verbally assaulted CeCe and her friends with transphobic and racist slurs: “faggots,” “niggers,” “chicks with dicks” and more. That group, led by 47-year-old Dean Schmitz of Richfield—a man with a swastika tattooed on his chest, remarked that Cece was dressed “like a woman” in order to rape him. Another member of the group removed CeCe’s jacket and hit CeCe in the face with a glass beer mug which shattered on impact and tore a hole through CeCe’s cheek. In the ensuing melee Schmitz was stabbed and killed.”
It appears that CeCe was the victim of a hate crime that involved many people but she was the only person held by the police. Here is another example transgender women of color being targeted for hate- and bias-related violence. It is unfortunate that in this case, as in so many, the hate crime itself appears to have been ignored. All reports indicate that after her arrest she was held in solitary confinement and denied adequate medical care for her injuries.
I stand in solidarity with CeCe, her family, Outfront Minnesota and a growing number of people in the community who are working to ensure that she is treated with dignity and respect and has access to safe and supportive legal services. This matter should be resolved quickly and fairly, so that she and her family can go on with their lives, without a prolonged court case and trial looming over their heads.
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