[UPDATED] The saga of jailed trans woman Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald

Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT – UPDATED April 28, 2012 – At this point it appears the trial is going to begin as scheduled Monday and efforts to get the charges against McDonald dropped have failed.

Some 15,000 plus people signed a Change.com petition but it hasn’t moved the Hennepin County prosecutors who claim McDonald’s stories of the incident are contradictory.

On Thursday there was a small protest by supporters of McDonald with some of them waving “We are Trayvon Martin” banners. On Friday there was a court hearing where the judge heard to arguments on whether to allow certain evidence. Apparently no decision was made by the judge on that. Jury selection begins Monday.




[Original article posted Feb 10, 2012:] I looked over a number of news reports dating back to last summer and two things come to mind — 1) Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald wasn’t out to kill someone that night, and 2) something is fishy is up with the justice department in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

On that fateful night of June 5th, 2011, McDonald and her friends, without provocation, were verbally harassed by a group of white adults hurling racist and transphobic slurs at them as they passed by a tavern in Minneapolis, MN. A shouting match ensued and someone smashed a glass against McDonald’s face resulting a deep cheek cut. In the scuffle that followed, Dean Schmitz, one of the white adults, died of stab wound. Although it is not clear how it happened, or with what weapon, McDonald was jailed on murder charges.

Murder charges? Here’s where things really don’t make sense: Schmitz reportedly had a swastika tattoo on his chest and his group was clearly the instigators yet the prosecutors added an additional murder charge when McDonald refused a plea bargain deal three months after the incident. This leads me to believe something is up and it might have to do with McDonald being black and trans.

The community outrage over the matter and strong support for McDonald likely has surprised the prosecutors who may be used to easily dispensing of black and trans matters away, never mind if it’s an occasional (or frequent) miscarriage of justice.

A trial is scheduled but one wonders if this case would even go to trial if the parties were reversed.

Trans Youth Support Network’s Katie Burgess: “Chrishaun McDonald’s case is a tragedy, but unfortunately it’s not a rarity. Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels of violence and harassment, and are pulled into prisons and jails at extremely high rates. Over 30% of trans women of color are incarcerated every year. Once in prison or jail, 38% are harassed, 15% are physically assaulted, and 7% are sexually assaulted. These violent abuses are enacted upon them by guards and fellow prisoners.”

News articles on the incident: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BloomingtonIN4CeCe/doc/179739442125819/

This organization is fighting on McDonald’s behalf: http://www.transyouthsupportnetwork.org/ transyouthsupportnetwork@gmail.com

More info: http://supportcece.wordpress.com/

CeCe McDonald (Photo - prettyqueer)


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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7 replies

  1. Probably the easiest and best thing to assure justice starts being afforded the more privileged is to sign the Change.org petition:
    Thank you Lexie and I commend your caution.
    Coming to this I found, with the advice of her lawyer, the supporters have been asked not to talk facts, so they provided all the outrage little objectivity.
    What I read was enough to start me researching. I don’t want to be an activist for the wrong side and even more; I don’t want to lead others to follow my lead blindly. The Bloomington4CeCe facebook Documents above is my research tool for those who want to draw their own conclusions.
    I will likely be motivated to comment here more than once, but what first strikes me as missing is the “Who is CeCe McDonald?”. She is what makes this case exceptional and a great person for the international focus on transgender and black discrimination:
    A very good three-page interview with CeCe: http://www.prettyqueer.com/2012/02/06/pq-interview-with-cece-mcdonald/
    CeCe’s own blogs: She is verbally diverse, able to mix it up on the streets or through her keyboard. This page highlights the latter:
    A Photo… Despite everything you cannot find a photo without a smile on her face. This one says it best. It shows the untreated cut on her face, out of “the hole” of solitary confinement, talking to a friend through the jail glass: http://supportcece.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/282461_113942485367990_100002567181562_108648_5234271_n.jpg
    The second thing I would ad to your coverage is the injustice of her incarceration awaiting trial.
    We are supposed to have “the right to a speedy trial”, to be “innocent until proven guilty” yet CeCe who had no criminal arrest record for any violent or serious crime was socked with a ONE-HALF-MILLION-DOLLAR bond that has kept her in jail for most of the past eight months. Because the jail system is not equipped for transgender, they have kept her in solitary confinement, in the mental ward and at times in the general population of male inmates. CeCe actually prefers the later, which in itself is a problem for the system, because they see she is not a man, but refuse to recognize it in any positive way. Thinking what link to provide here, I will give you a video that I made for a contest. It tells this story via images. http://www.vimeo.com/35665967

  2. ‎!!FIGHT RACISM & TRANSPHOBIA BY THE CLICK OF A MOUSE!! Please post far & wide, invite all yr contacts, send it out on yr listserves, post it to yr blogs, tweet it, fax it out to folks. Let’s fill this petition to drop the charges against CeCe with thousands of signatures!

  3. It just came out on Minnesota Public Radio that CeCe’s attacker who is being painted as a victim had a fucking swastika tattooed on his chest.
    Perhaps I’m being judgmental but I generally think people with swastika tattoos are Nazi scumbags and racist sub-human animals.
    That tattoo should result in an automatic acquittal.


  4. The prosecutor in Hennipen County Minnesota claims himself an objective administrator of justice but if you look at the list of things he makes legal maneuvers to keep from the Jury he fears that they know logical facts you would want to know if you would sort this out justly.

    If he is successful and continues to get consessions from the Judge this case will be a full circus.

    I wish there where some film crew filming this… It is classic dominant culture oppression, by cruel and unusual punishment. I hope on day this prosecutors child ends up on the wrong side of bars in a justice system that he can not manipulate. How can he justify no charges against the woman who’s identity seems impossible to access even though no one, not even the prosecutors office seems to deny cut CeCe’s face open to the saliva gland before any other physical altercation is reported or claimed. This prosecutor has no validity when he claims to be seeking truth and justice. this is gamesman ship through legal maneuvers. Truth would allow the jury to see facts!!! He would not file such motions to the judge.

  5. It’s sort of out of our hands now, however, if CeCe doesn’t get justice, an appeals court (different judges) challenge may be in order.


  1. Trans woman CeCe McDonald pleads guilty to manslaughter – to serve 3+ years « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes

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