Trial Of CeCe McDonald, Trans Woman Accused Of Stabbing Death, Begins In MN

Last June Crishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a black trans woman, was arrested by police in Minneapolis and charged with  second-degree murder fafter stabbing Dean Schmitz to death outside a bar. In her trial—which begins today—McDonald is claiming self-defense.McDonald says she and her friends were confronted by a group of people outside Schooner Tavern and subject to racist and transphobic language before one of Schmitz’s friends started a fight by breaking a glass on the side of her face.

According to a representative from the Trans Youth Support Network, the prosecution stated that no weapon was recovered from the scene of the crime, and that it’s still unclear what the weapon that killed Schmitz actually was.

LGBT activists from around the country have traveled to Minneapolis to witness the proceedings, which have already garnered much media attention. Among those at the trial is Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues, who submitted an open letter to ADA Michael Freeman requesting he cease prosecution of McDonald. “The right of self-defense against all forms of oppressions–the spirit of Stonewall–is at the heart of the demand to free [McDonald],” she wrote.

Last Friday Judge Daniel Moreno ruled that the swastika tattoo on Schmitz’s chest was not admissible as proof of his history of bigotry, nor were his three previous convictions for assault as evidence of his violent disposition. Judge Moreno also ruled that McDonald supporters were not  allowed to wear “Free CeCe” t-shirts in court.




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  • cam

    So in the Treyvan Martin case somebody can follow somebody and shoot them and claim they were “Standing the Ground” and the police let them get away with it until the state stepped in, but in this instance somebody is hit across the face with a broken bottle and there is no self defense taken in to consideration?!

    Either there is soemthing major being left out of this story or that is B.S.

  • Kev C

    The leftists are really “lefty-ing” this case up and making it political .. and it doesn’t appear to be helping. Just the opposite, as the judge is depoliticizing it. Hopefully the defense has a better strategy than the supporters.

  • shannon

    I hope she gets off! THIS is what you guys need t do instead of being victims….

  • Denise

    She is a heterosexual transsexual, not a gay person. So why is this gay news?

    If she was defending herself from a serious assault, she should get off. The issue will be whether the injury she received from broken glass was serious enough for her to respond with a sharp object. It is a question of proportionality.

    What I find offensive is the constant harping on the fact that she is Black and the other combatants are white and that she trans. As if we are supposed to sort guilt and innocence based on racial or gender alliances. It would be more persuasive to hear her emphatically proclaim her innocence and talk less about the color of her skin and her gender identity.

  • not blind

    I just want to know what happened, who started it, etc. Not who is a bigot. Dean Schmitz obviously wasn’t my kind of person, but that wouldn’t give me the right to kill him. All of this identity politics is a red herring. I don’t care about his tattoo or feelings, and I don’t care about CeCe’s race or gender. I want to know what happened, who did what to whom. It’s too bad that a distinguished writer like Feinberg is having flashbacks from Stonewall and applying it to something so unrelated. What’s the common denominator, drag queens? Does Feinberg think, if you don’t know what happened, side with the tranny?

  • Mark

    Shannon I feel bad that she got bashed both physically and verbally but it’s not an excuse for stabbing someone and killing someone even if it was 2nd degree or technically manslaughter in this case. I’ve been bashed both physically and verbally before but I never stabbed anyone or reacted with murderous intent towards anyone.

    While bigots like Denise want the LGBT community to only contain gay men and lesbian women while ignoring, erasing, and marginalizing bisexuals and trans people they’re just showing that they’re not for LGBT equality at all.

    Honestly who cares that she’s a hetero transwoman? I’m friends with a hetero Transwoman and she used to identify as a gay man before she transitioned and discovered that she’s a hetero/straight transwoman. Hetero/straight Trans people are still a part of the LGBT community even if bigots like Denise wish that they were not along with bisexuals.

  • TheInternetizen

    @Kev C:

    How is pretending Schmitz’s didn’t have a swastika and a history of violence in a case about him starting a violent assault depoliticizing it? How is and banning support for the accused depoliticizing it?

    Do you even understand what “depoliticized” means? I do not think you do.

    “She is a heterosexual transsexual, not a gay person. So why is this gay news?”

    Uh, it is LGBT news, which is rather relevant since the bigots don’t distinguish. I wonder if you yourself are being bigoted over her transgender and trying to distance yourself and the site from it.

    “The issue will be whether the injury she received from broken glass was serious enough for her to respond with a sharp object. It is a question of proportionality.”

    A glass mug to the face will cause cuts and is a serious blow. It could cause blindness and severe blood loss, and if there was a handle, could be a sharp weapon afterwards.

    One question here is who started the fight. It could easily have been some sassy, hot headed trans women starting it just as it could have been some racist, bigoted shitheads. Hopefully there is footage of the incident.

    Considering the bigots were two women and a man and McDonald was male with multiple white female friends, the proportionality question comes into play, like you said.

  • Denise

    Nice try to drag bisexuals into this. But no one has any problem with the idea that bisexuals are part of the same community as gay people. LGBs are one community because they are all defined by their sexual orientation and are all, to one degree or another, homosexual. Transgenders are mostly straight and are not defined by their sexual orientation. That is why LGBT is so much nonsense. Someone decided that they wanted to lump Ts in with LGBs for political reasons.

  • R.A.

    Well, yes – you need to use a gun. Then all those NRA and ALEC-sponsored “stand-your-ground” laws come int play.

    It sounds like Judge Moreno is more afraid of trans people than he is of Nazis.

    Black ones, anyway.

  • Mark

    @Denise-Actually most Trans people are not heterosexual but are bisexual. Do your research on this subject. Just because you think that Trans people shouldn’t be included with gays, bisexuals, or lesbians does not mean that everyone that’s LGB is a bigot like you are and you’re not a part of the LGBT community since you have that pointless 70s GLB segregationist attitude that did nothing and got LGBT people nowhere.

  • MarieDelta

    Denise bigotry and transphobia is alive and well in the LGBT community. People like you are no better than the Bachmanns, Rick Santorum, and Rev. Phelps.

  • Fred

    @Denise: Because she’s queer.

  • Bizz

    @Denise: Why do you find it offensive, because you’re neither Black nor trans and are ignorant (perhaps willfully so) to the fact that Black transpeople face violence at a rate disproportionately higher than white cisgender people? Nevermind the fact that her attackers shouted RACIST and TRANSPHOBIC comments at her. Why aren’t THEY in jail for assault?

    Come on!

  • Bizz

    @Mark: It’s not an EXCUSE? She had every right to defend herself against her attackers. If YOU choose not to defend yourself with force against attackers, who knows if you’ll be fortunate enough to survive the ordeal to talk about it?

    I guess trying to defend one’s self against a guy who is violent enough to get close to you and break a glass against your face isn’t reason enough to defend yourself. GTFOH

Comments are closed.