Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Justice For CeCe McDonald

There has been a story developing in Minneapolis concerning a young African-American transwoman who is being held in jail and facing second degree murder charges for defending herself against a hate attack.  

23 year old college student Chrishaun 'CeCe' McDonald and her friends (all African-American BTW) were minding their own business on the night of June 5, 2011 walking to a grocery store in South Minneapolis.   As they passed the patio of the Schooner Tavern white adults on that patio started yelling transphobic and racist slurs at CeCe and her friends.

After CeCe made it clear they weren't tolerating the hate speech coming from the white club patrons, a fight ensued after one of the white women uttered a derogatory slur at the African-American youths as she smashed her drinking glass in McDonald's face, lacerating her cheek.

Unfortunately, one of the attackers, 47 year old Dean Schmitz (who had a swastika tattoo on his body) was fatally stabbed in the fight, but the only person who was arrested when the Minneapolis po-po's arrived on the scene was CeCe.  She was denied medical treatment for her injuries, was interrogated for hours, placed in solitary confinement on top of that and forced to sign a confession that she later recanted..  

CeCe was charged with two counts of second degree murder with her bail being set at $500,000.   A petition was started that so far has garnered 9,500 signature imploring Hennepin County District Attorney Michael Freeman (D) to exercise the power he has to drop these charges just as he has done in three other self defense cases similar to Chrishaun's that involve white cis people.  

So why isn't Freeman or the assistant DA doing so in this case especially when CeCe and her friends were defending themselves against white supremacists?   Another question I'd like to ponder is has anyone talked to Congressman Keith Ellison (D) about this case?   Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)?  Sen. Al Franken (D)?  The NAACP?   

The more national firepower on this the better.   And yes, here's the addresses and phone numbers so you can (politely please) be agents for Chrishaun's liberation

To tell Michael Freeman you support dropping the charges against CeCe:

call: 612-348-5561
email: citizeninfo@co.hennepin.mn.us
fax: 612-348-2042

In November McDonald wrote to supportcece.wordpress.com):

“To deal with racism and transphobia directly and upfront is very hard to deal with. Even hearing the words being said left me in total confusion and shock. And to be attacked in my own community by individuals who felt it was their duty to yell hate speech at not only me, but my family who was with me, and attack me for their own satisfaction of making someone else’s life miserable.

“I felt that I’ve worked very hard from where I started, to where I’m at now in my life, just to have it all taken away from me. It’s hard enough for gays and trans people to find stability in this society, and I’ve worked too hard to let anyone just take it from me. We have to stand up against those who put us down and try to oppress us.”

Yes, we do.  We also must do what we can to get DA Freeman to drop this case before it goes to trial on April 30.

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