CeCe McDonald murder trial

Behind the scenes of the transgender woman's case

As they walked from the apartment, laughing and trading jokes, a squad car pulled up and shined a spotlight on them. "What are you doing out here?" the officer asked.

"What you mean what are you doing out?" replied Thomas. "We're just going to get something to eat."

The officer cruised behind them for a few minutes, then peeled away. If he would have followed them another couple of blocks, the group of friends might have made it to Cub safely. But that didn't happen.

McDonald was hit in the face with a beer glass the night of the incident
courtesy of Support CeCe! and Chrishaun McDonald
McDonald was hit in the face with a beer glass the night of the incident
The paths of Chrishaun McDonald and Dean Schmitz crossed outside the Schooner Tavern, and all hell broke loose
photo by City Pages
The paths of Chrishaun McDonald and Dean Schmitz crossed outside the Schooner Tavern, and all hell broke loose

Moments later, as they neared the intersection of 29th Street East and 27th Avenue South, they heard catcalls from across the street, outside the north entrance to a three-story red brick building on the corner. Above the building, a sign read, "SCHOONER."

Standing on the corner was Schmitz, a man who looked to be in his mid-40s, with a heavy build, mustache, and sandy blond hair. Flaherty, his ex-girlfriend, stood next to him, along with Jenny Thoreson, his current girlfriend. The three had stepped out of the bar for a cigarette. That's when they saw McDonald and her friends walking by.

What Schmitz and company called out, exactly, is subject to debate. In later interviews with police, Thoreson would only recall that it was something "derogatory" and "sarcastic."

"They were very feminine guys," she said, "something about their walk."

Flaherty's memory was even less specific, though she gave a similar description to police about the group's fashion, noting that one of them "was wearing booty shorts and a tank top," and that "he looked like he was ready to go to a recital."

Thomas's recollection of what he heard that night was far more detailed:

"Oh you faggots, you nigger lovers, and whoop-de-woo, you ain't nothing but a bunch of nigger babies," Thomas later recalled in a police interview. "So as they said all that, I go over there and talk to [Schmitz].

"I backed into the middle of the street, drop my belt like I am ready to fight. He just walk off. And that's when he started talking this stuff, like, 'Oh, look at the tranny over there, look at that tranny.'"

The back-and-forth escalated, and someone smashed a glass across McDonald's face, opening a gash in her left cheek.

"I'll take all three of you bitches on!" Flaherty screamed, according to Thoreson. "She threw the first punch and I heard glass break. It was on."

From there, everyone remembers the brawl a little differently. David Crandell, Flaherty's boyfriend, stepped out of the bar for a cigarette to find multiple members of McDonald's group piled onto his girlfriend, punching, kicking, and beating her with belts, he told police. He wrestled with a few of the strangers, trying to pull them off Flaherty.

Gary Gilbert walked out of the bar to make a phone call and heard the sound of glass breaking on the street, he told police. He saw Schmitz, whom he recognized from the bar, pushing McDonald off the hog pile on Flaherty.

"He was just trying to shove her away," Gilbert recalled.

Schmitz and McDonald moved into the street, away from the rest of the group. McDonald appeared to be holding a blade, while Schmitz clenched his fists and approached her.

"He is just like shuffling his feet like, you know, something like you would do in boxing," Gilbert said.

"You gonna stab me, you bitch?" Schmitz asked McDonald, according to Gilbert.

The next thing Gilbert knew, Schmitz was hunched over.

"You stabbed me!" he accused McDonald.

"Yes, I did," McDonald replied.

After everyone saw Schmitz bleeding, the fighting abruptly stopped. A few members of McDonald's group fled the scene and boarded a Metro Transit bus, while McDonald and Thomas ran toward Cub Foods.

"That night, it was crazy," says Thomas. "It messed me all up. I'm still messed up from that night."


Just south of downtown Minneapolis, in the law offices of the Legal Rights Center, Hersch Izek sits across a desk cluttered with mislaid files and cassette tapes. A goateed man with graying hair, he keeps a suit coat hanging on the door, but in the office prefers a red flannel shirt and jeans. On the walls behind him, next to his William Mitchell law degrees, hang posters of Bob Marley and Noam Chomsky.

McDonald's case found its way to the Legal Rights Center within the first weeks after her arrest. Founded in 1970, the law office predates Hennepin County's modern-day public defender system, and still serves as an alternative form of free legal counsel for low-income clients. It has been a starting point for future judges and politicians, including Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis and Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. But unlike public defenders, the Legal Rights Center attorneys have complete discretion over cases, rather than being assigned clients through a judge.

Every Wednesday, attorneys, staff members, and volunteers meet in the center's conference room and run down a list of potential cases. They span the gamut of misdemeanors and mostly low-level felonies — DUI, domestic assault, theft — and the office sees its share of troubling cases. One client was charged with theft of infant milk; another stands accused of beating her child with an extension cord.

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59 comments
garrityleahl
garrityleahl

You people do not know Molly Flaherty ~ hated by many.  Terrible person.  Had two kids with FAS and just had another one with FAS.  She is a meth head and a trouble maker.  When we all heard it was "Molly" AKA the "Black Widow" who started this fight   ~ we knew who was at fault.  Look up her record...... shame to society.   

Jack
Jack

Guilty! Hang the Bastard! Look at the crime, not the sideshow distractions!

Jack
Jack

Numol = DOUCHEBAGHang the GUILTY now!

numol
numol

wow jack your arguments are so persuasive and well-reasoned [/sarcasm]

numol
numol

@Jack: well aren't you a disgusting violent bigoted troll piece of shit.

So Mpls Resident
So Mpls Resident like.author.displayName 1 Like

This whole story is a disturbing glimpse of life at the lower depths. It seems McDonald's attorneys did a very good job on her case. From the story, and other accounts I've read, she stood an equal chance of being acquitted and being sentenced to the maximum possible sentence. As an attorney, you can't let your client take that chance unless you absolutely have to.

And McDonald is a difficult client to defend. She's clearly not in full control of herself. Speaking to the media in any way was incredibly stupid. Her attorneys no doubt dreaded putting her on the stand to be picked apart and provoked into quite possible bizarre outbursts by a prosecutor well-trained in the arts of convicting someone with little evidence.

In the end, it appears that it all worked out about as well as it could, except that McDonald's and Schmidt's "companions" should be on trial for the death in this situation as well.

Oddly enough, I've gone out for a night's drinking in South Minneapolis--including even that very Schooner Bar--without shouting derogatory comments at passers-by, or smashing anyone in the face with a busted-off glass. Maybe I'm just a superior citizen.

Also, while walking along minding my own business, I've been shouted at by drunken derelicts calling me offensive names. I've just walked on by; particularly when I had the whole width of a street between me and them. I certainly have never crossed a street to confront a group of drunken, angry red-necks looking for a fight.

It seems like a situation where some crazy people ran into some violent bigots, and violence and a death ensued. It is a crime to kill a bigot, just as it is a crime to assault a transgendered person who behaving in a volatile manner.

I'd like to think that Taylor, Thomas, Smith and Harris realize that if they hadn't behaved as they dead, their friend McDonald wouldn't be going to prison. They're guilty of assault at the least, and since a man ended up dead, there are many potential aggravating factors. Regardless of their personal experiences and history, they decided to start a confrontation. Their history of being discriminated against does not excuse them from the law. If they just walk on, McDonald is free today.

And I hope that Flaherty and Thoreson realize it is equally their fault their lover Schmidt is dead. They decided to shout insults at strangers, and then to slash somebody's face with a broken glass (assault with a deadly weapon). If they don't do that, Schmidt is alive today.

Of course, I doubt any of these people will realize this. They all seem to be terribly handicapped people; believing that anything they do is justified, no matter the result, and that only a bigot or a freak could disapprove of their narcissistic and deadly behavior.

numol
numol

you really seem set on believing that both groups were at fault, and that Ms. McDonald is "volatile", "stupid", and "out of control" and that she and her friends are ~unstable~ and "confrontational" and "narcissistic"... despite there being absolutely NO real reason for you to believe any of these things. you sure are making a lot of assumptions here. and you also seem to believe that it's irresponsible behavior for people to ask bigots shouting slurs at them to stop, and that if said people cross the street in order to do so, that automatically means they are spoiling for a physical fight with said bigots (and apparently you don't consider shouting slurs to be "confrontational"?). also your first line is as disgustingly sensationalistic as the article itself, and has at least a whiff of stereotyping.

Jack
Jack

Numol = DUMBASS

Michele
Michele like.author.displayName 1 Like

I have read this story before and find it to be sad. My son who is gay, but not transgender goes thru this every time He decides to go out with friends to a club. It's sad that He and his friends cannot go out have a good time and come home without me hearing the next day about some jerk who starts a fight.

ssissta
ssissta like.author.displayName 1 Like

For one thing, Killing someone because of name-calling, or making fun of is just crazy!!! I don't think Dean should be the one on trail here!! Dean did not even know that CeCe was a tranny! The fight started with a stupid bitch that likes to run her mouth!! She should be sitting behind bars as well! If people can go around crying "I'm Black! I'm Transgender" OR even I'm Albino!! Then stab people around town....I sure would not want my kids walking in that neighborhood!! In other words...How safe do you feel if you don't let a killer know they have consequences for their actions? You let this one go and whats NEXT????

numol
numol

McDonald did not "go around crying 'I'm Black! I'm Transgender' [...] Then stab people around town", nor did she "kill someone because of name-calling or making fun" -- she and her friends were verbally harassed, then physically violently attacked, and she was defending herself. and as for the "Dean did not even know CeCe was a t****ny" part: A) don't use the t-word, it's a horrible slur, and B) Schmitz and co. shouted anti-trans slurs at McDonald and her friends as well as racist and gay-bashing slurs, so anti-trans bigotry was definitely part of the attack. "How safe do you feel if you don't let a killer know they have consequences for their actions?" -- again, you're misrepresenting things. **she was defending herself from a violent attack**. the system protecting people who commit hate crimes while punishing the targets of said crimes is the real safety issue here.

Indi Edwards Roughsedge
Indi Edwards Roughsedge

actually I am a trans activist, we face many dangerous obstacles in this world. I for one make no apologies if I am a little over the top and often perceived as radical. Being trans and being treated as a second class citizen or a target for bigots requires a hard line. Sorry but 18 years of transition has taught me that nothing changes unless you drag it kicking and screaming into reality. To all trans activists never let people guilt you into thinking what you are doing is pointless of over the top. Comments like this are garden variety cis derails. Never give up, say it. SAY IT LOUD.

Emily
Emily

The duty of a journalist is to be as objective as possible. In a highly charged, complex situation with political undertones and implications, a good piece of journalism delicately unpacks all perspectives and makes them more palatable. In the past, I was impressed with several City Pages features, especially the article about the teen suicides in Anoka. However, I am extremely disappointed by this feature. This article struck me as biased and sensationalistic. The order in which the author depicted events and perspectives and the way that particular witnesses' experiences and perspectives were painted as a dramatic, unfolding realities when others' weren't was troubling to me. Though Cece's supporters are depicted in the article, they are not given the introduction or opportunity to explain their stance that attorney Michael Freeman is given. The CityPages has painted a story with a very particular message, bent, and bias, but has attempted to pass it off as unbiased and even-handed, which, in my mind, is more egregious than simply taking a stance.

I do appreciate the posting of this video, which offers more information and perspective: http://blogs.citypages.com/blo...

Guest
Guest

I will not waste my time pointing out (again) that this article is inaccurate. You sensationalized for journalistic effect, instead of truly reporting on what happens to queer folks, especially queer folks of color when they survive physical violence (an experience sadly too familiar to too many in our communities). I will point out a practical point though: being transgender or LGB is not a "lifestyle". It is who someone is. It is their identity. I believe your choice of words says all there is to say about your attitude to our communities. This article is yet another assault on CeCe and on our communities. Please don't ever pretend to be a friend to LGBT people City Pages, because you are obviously not.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

All of McDonald's supporters would probably get more credit if they didn't hurl insults at everyone that doesn't automatically agree with them. Looking at this string of comments and how people are responding, it makes a lot of sense to dismiss her supporters as heavily biased and irrational. If you have a reasonable point, argue it.

Sleepswithbooks
Sleepswithbooks like.author.displayName 1 Like

HurdyGurdy, I'm a lesbian and I agree with everything you've posted. This was a complex case, and I don't think CeCe's "supporters" ended up doing her a lot of favors overall. Just reading the posts here from them is pretty revealing.

Having said that, it's interesting to me that so many posts are denouncing this article, because it changed my mind. Before I read it, I was of the opinion that although CeCe may have been frightened, the end result was that she killed NOT the person who attacked her, but someone else, and therefore deserved to do at least some jail time. However, after reading this article, I think CeCe should've been sentenced to probation, not jail. I do not think the case should have been dismissed outright on the basis of self-defense. I don't consider self-defense to be when you willingly cross a street to engage your harassers and end up in a fight. Self-defense is when you have no other options. I do think it's unfair that the swastika tattoo (which shows Dean's feelings about gays and black people) and Dean's considerable criminal record were not allowed to be presented (had there been a trial, that is).

At any rate, CeCe seems a good soul who along with her friends made a really bad choice to engage Dean and his jerk friends. I know it's tempting to stand up for oneself and shout back, but if you do, realize you never know who you're dealing with, and be ready to deal with the consequences.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

I don't know what would qualify the sentence as probation rather than jail time, but there are definitely some lingering questions about how the trail was framed. Dismissing Schmitz' violent criminal past is odd, and even stranger is the respective groups of him and McDonald don't seem to be implicated. I know there's charges coming against the person who hit McDonald with the glass, but how were CeCe's friends involved? Could one of the anonymous members of either group hold greater responsibility for escalating an argument into a fight?

However, I'm not sure if the tattoo is acceptable evidence; it just doesn't present any solid proof of Schmitz' character. In an interview his brother said Dean got the tattoo in prison as part of a gang initiation. He needed a gang for protection, and joined a White Supremacist group. That seems pretty logical to me, considering what prison can be like. People get tattoos all the time, and often for stupid (or logical-at-the-time) reasons. My sister has her ex-boyfriend's name on her arm, but it doesn't mean she still loves him. I also work with an old man with a swastika on his forearm - several of his coworkers (in a warehouse) are black, and they all get along well. To me he's always been kind and friendly. I don't know much about his past, but nothing about my experiences would say he's a racist. It's just too unclear.

CeCe obviously has a lot of friends in the community, and seems to be loved by many. This was never a judgement of her character, or a dismissal of the certain discrimination and hardship she's had to go through. But this had to go to trial, and CeCe needed to be held responsible for her actions. I wish this had never happened, that CeCe and her friends had ignored the small-minded people and continued living their lives. I hope, at least, that the case has exposed people to the difficulties of gender, race, and sexual discrimination, while also being an example of the power of non-violence.

MondeRed
MondeRed

You are quite right sir.Transgender activists often confuse being loud, obnoxious, and insulting, as effective tactics in persuasion.

It is sad to watch a group of folks who deserve to live their lives freely, continue to latch onto the wrong causes at the wrong time.

numol
numol

well you couldn't be much more stereotyping and condescending, MondeRed. and HurdyGurdy: your points were never reasonable (for example, you seem to think that crossing the street automatically equals "initiating a physical fight", and you also think that McDonald supporters believe she should be above the law and let off for anything she does because she faces bigotry but as far as i know no one has said this or even implied it) and you clearly came into this quite biased (you seem very invested in casting doubt on Ms. McDonald's actions and defending Schmitz, even calling McDonald's supporters a "lynch mob", which, as comparisons go, is way beyond merely inappropriate), so really... projection much?

maccabeast
maccabeast

Who fact checked this story? You can't even spell published authors names correctly.

The bias in this article is as thick as the skulls of the people who failed to edit it well.

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

Picture this: A fight breaks out, a white woman is hit across the face with with a wine glass and ends up stabbing a black man. Think that would go to trial?

ssissta
ssissta

Yeah.. Picture THAT!!!

ssissta
ssissta

What people are forgetting is a man is deceased at the hands of another human being! Whether the murder is white/black/Hispanic or otherwise! The accused needs to prove their innocence and/or pay the consequences! This man had a family! What I don't understand is why Ce-Ce McDonald is acting as a victim when a man was killed and He/She hasn't said one thing about remorse or any feelings about the incident! There seems to be more Denial and sympathy for Ce-Ce and nothing for the family that is in mourning.for their loved one!

numol
numol like.author.displayName 1 Like

McDonald was attacked, a hate crime was committed against her and she was defending herself. you're so dead-set on thinking of Schmitz as an innocent victim when he and his buddies shouted slurs at HER (and yeah don't fucking misgender her) and her friends, and when they went to tell them to stop doing that, Schmitz and co. physically attacked them as a group.

Guest
Guest

With Mike Freeman, the same thing.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

It seems like everyone is conveniently forgetting that McDonald and her friends crossed the street to confront the people harassing them. They willingly entered the conflict. That doesn't excuse the racist/homophobic behavior, but it does make claims of self-defense seem incredibly flimsy. Being insulted doesn't justify violent retaliation.

McDonald's supporters really seemed to want to put racism and homophobia on trial, while Freeman was looking to prosecute an individual crime. Both sides have valid claims, but trials are about facts and evidence. There is, of course, an easily catologued history of violence against minorities of all kind, but history is slippery evidence. Do we forgive all people for their crimes because they've been abused in the past, suffered discrimination, or belong to a group that has traditionally been oppressed? You can arguably link all criminal behavior to the abuse or unfortunate circumstances experienced by the "criminal," but how can you determine the validity and significance of those stories, and how do you balance that with the suffering of the victim? How much of Schmidt's violent history can be traced to his own past suffering?

A person was murdered in Minneapolis, and I want to live in a society where crimes like that are investigated to the fullest extent with measurable, definable data. Ideology has no place in our courts.

JustAGuy
JustAGuy

These "unfortunate circumstances" include being hit across the face with a glass. Since when is crossing the street considered willingly entering a fatal conflict.

"Being insulted doesn't justify violent retaliation" How about getting slashed across your face?

You sir, are a douchebag.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

McDonald and her friends had a choice. They could continue walking down the road and ignore the insults, turn around and go home, or make the physical effort to cross the street and escalate the situation. Self-defense is reserved for people in fear for their lives and with no other choice. Insulting me isn't going to change that.

ssissta
ssissta

Your a perfect example of "POORME" syndrome!! If everyone needed as much attention as YOU..There would be a freaking circus act in every alley!

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Standing up for your rights is honorable; I encourage it and hope to see a world that allows marriage rights for everyone and fights (the very real) discrimination against minority groups. But trying to circumvent the law and ignoring the hard facts of a case isn't activism. Blindly supporting a person because they're on your "team," despite legitimate doubts in a murder case isn't activism, and it's not productive. It's polarizing and self-defeating, because it essentially shows to people outside your cause that you think your "team" is above the law, and shouldn't go through the same legal processes that everyone else has to.

I know our legal system is prejudiced against many people, and our laws affect a disproportionate amount of minority groups. But, like I've said before, I'd much rather have a system with checks, balances, and appeals that measures facts than let the court of public opinion and the loudest activist group decide what the truth is.

maccabeast
maccabeast

Maybe we queers are so tired of being harassed that we're ready to start standing up to people.

M.
M.

Your first line is "Black Lady with a knife?"

Jesus fucking christ, City Pages. Check your privilege. That's a despicably insensitive way to begin what is already a sensationalized article that seems to make light of something so incredibly serious to the community by trying to heighten the drama.

Also, nice black face on the cover. Christ almighty.

Jack
Jack

Yes it should have read "Black man with a knife, dressed as a lady"!

numol
numol

@Jack: go away, gross troll.

Michael Lee
Michael Lee

WHO THE HELL IS THE EDITOR? Who let this get published or the cover art pass? City Pages is full of shit these days.

Jean
Jean

Excellent non-biased reporting... Finally we get to know all the facts and behind the scenes... I can not imagine what Lovely below is wanting. I support CeCe McDonald... I don't buy the prosecutor saying blind justice... he must be so into the gamesmanship of lawyering that he does not see his own blindness, when he thinks his job is not to consider the things that the law will not let the jury see, like a long violent criminal record, a clear history of racial hatred, and a prosecutor who is willing to let the first slice of CeCe's face be a freebie! A prosecutor willing to misrepresent the Minnesota statue regarding Self-Defense and set unreasonable standards for access to it. Blind justice... one wonders if CeCe had been the Mayor's daughter, would this case have been prosecuted? If I had been on that jury and heard of a bad check as the best the prosecution could come up with to paint CeCe badly... no way would I have convicted.

Guest
Guest

I really never understood the whole case until this article. I'm really glad that they reported it from both sides and now I have a clearer understanding of the case and why people are outraged by how CeCe McDonald has been treated in this case.

Lovely
Lovely

I will never read the city pages again you pathetic excuse for a journalist. If I had the power I'd strip you of your ability to publish anything and stick you in a gutter full of cat piss. Seriously. These are the times I'm glad that citizen journalism exists as it is increasingly obvious yall dumb fucks don't know how to write anything of truth or essence.

Guest
Guest

I find it funny that you criticize their writing but don't put a single reason as to why you disliked the article.

BMW
BMW

Here is the one thing about the article which both sides of the argument can agree on, look at the description of the fight (page 2), and look at the people who are quoted. Look at the people who are not quoted. Wonder why all the quotes are from the people in the bar, people who knew Schmitz.

If you wanted to present a balanced article I think you would want more views of the critical incident.

ssissta
ssissta

Well obviously you people love attention! The family of the deceased isn't running around asking for publicity.

Zeraph
Zeraph

For a case that has shone a terribly stark light on complex issues of racism and violence, it is not correct to say that "bad timing" caused this tragedy, and tragic mangling of justice which has followed it. White men and black trans women are not naturally mutually antagonistic groups. By a statement like this one, violence and oppression are posed as if they are natural, as if "exotic" queer and trans people could not help but inspire violence against them. It also equates Dean Schmitz's lifestyle, actions and beliefs with CeCe's trans status- thereby either naturalizing Dean's racism or posing CeCe's identity as a mere lifestyle. Either is unacceptable.

What it obscures is this: What happened to Dean and CeCe was AVOIDABLE; it happened because Dean and friends attacked CeCe and friends; it happened because CeCe and friends did not allow themselves to simply be beaten and perhaps killed; it happened because a racist criminal justice system does not seem to allow for the possibility of a Black individual acting in self-defense. It happened because people have been taught to despise trans people through misogyny and homophobia. I get the idea of the article; I get the lurid stylings, but it's wrong.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

You make an excellent argument in your first paragraph, that we assume the tension between different groups is natural, and that it implies we should encourage segregation as a way of avoiding conflict, which is of course backwards and useless. Very well-stated.

However, I do take issue with your characterization of the events. Do you believe McDonald and her friends crossed the street to confront Schmidt and his group? That's the story I'm hearing, and it dramatically changes the claim of self-defense if McDonald actively pursued a conflict instead of walking away after being insulted. This information is key to the story, and to how I view the events, but no supporter of her's wants to discuss it.

I'd be more sympathetic to the cause if I heard some acknowledgement about the cloudiness of the case, and not just blanket statements about society's ingrained hatred towards the transgendered. Most people don't share your worldview and lense with which you view events like this, and most people have some faith in our justice system as the most effective tool we currently have to deal with conflict. Completely dismissing the validity of "society's" doubt and the effectiveness of our justice system is just a big step towards self-isolation and further misunderstanding.

Zeraph
Zeraph

"Do you believe McDonald and her friends crossed the street to confront Schmidt and his group?"

I don't know. That may have bearing on whether it was self-defense or not, but there needs to be some limit. At what point does an action cease to be self-defense? CeCe did not allegedly strike anyone until after she herself was seriously wounded. Does verbally responding to someone on the street entail entering a conflict willingly? Walking over to them? If so, I question whether 'self-defense' has enough applicability to be a meaningful defense.

I think many people are noticing that Zimmerman shot a black man dead and claimed self-defense, and was not arrested for some time. CeCe is a black woman and stabbed a man, and was arrested immediately. These cases together don't establish a statistical truth-- they've just both recieved media attention, and people are noticing a discrepancy. I hope the attention paid to this will clarify self-defense more.

I'm not concerned about offending people who have faith in the criminal justice system. My own research, based on government data, has shown me that black people are seriously disadvantaged in the system. I haven't seen data on self-defense in particular, but I'd like to. I hope that I will see that there is no racism there-- that would be great.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Self-defense laws are indeed the issue. States like Florida make it much easier with their Stand Your Ground laws to kill someone without legal consequence. However, Minnesota does not have a law similar to that, so the comparison with the Zimmerman/Martin case is innaccurate.

My point of view is that any time a person is attacked or killed, regardless of the circumstances, our legal system needs to get involved. I despise the Stand Your Ground laws because it removes the responsibility of the victim to defend their actions if they do indeed kill their attacker. When someone gets murdered, I want to know why, and with confidence.

Although a proponent of non-violent action, I'm not opposed to physical self-defense in the appropriate situation with no other options. My issue with the McDonald case is that she DEFINITELY had options. She made a choice, by crossing the street, to get further involved in that conflict, and whether or not she was doing it to stand up for transgender rights is not important. Because McDonald chose to respond to Schmitz, and not ignore him like most people ignore ignorant bigots shouting at them, she needs to take responsibility for the outcome. Schmitz did not deserve to die, the actual circumstances are unclear, and he wasn't even the one who hit McDonald with the glass. This case is not as simple as many of McDonald's supporters would have us believe. Schmitz being a bigot does not mean the state is handling this situation in an unfair way.

I'm also not taking issue with you offending anyone with your belief in the bias and discriminatory policies of our legal system. It's only when the criticism becomes one-sided that you risk alienating potential supporters and sympathetic citizens. Blaming some vague idea of "the system" as the guilty party, while completely absolving McDonald of any responsiblity, makes her supporters seem unreasonable and childish. That uneven distribution of guilt and responsibility is holding your cause back.

Maybe it's innapropriate, but I'm reminded of an episode of The Boondocks where R. Kelly goes to trial. Kelly's lawyer eventually gets the charges dropped by claiming the whole case is a conspiracy against a succesful black man, and the all-black jury eagerly eats up the illogical arguments and deflections as proof of his innocence, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Huey angrily stops the post-trial celebration, and tells the courtroom "Yes, the government does conspire to jail innocent black men, but this is not one of those times. Have some sense people!"

Terrible paraphrasing, but it speaks to me about our need to examine cases individually, measure evidence, and reserve judgement, especially when an event is colored by social controversies.

Thanks for the conversation. I truly appreciate your candor, patience, and respect.

JonnyRockstar1234
JonnyRockstar1234

You are talking crap - the justice system does protect black people acting in self defense.

Zeraph
Zeraph

I don't appreciate that. Also, as I mentioned above, I'd like to see data on this. If you have some, please provide it.

Shittypages
Shittypages

So it's okay to post about this after the trial instead of when we needed mass support? You're just as racist and transphobic as CeCe's attackers.

Amyaudacity616
Amyaudacity616

the person that wrote this is a complete wiener and a tool of the state, very clearly. consider reading a book sometime. fuck you, guy.

Usurpprocter
Usurpprocter

Also, what's the deal with the cover art? Not only is it simplistic and sensationalist, it's really poorly done. Why is there a penny in the white side's eye? Why doesn't the white side have eyelashes!?! Why make this about black (with the black eye in purple makeup?) versus white (which i suppose it is in some ways), and not about a community mobilizing against racist and transphobic violence in addition to the violence of the prison system? Why emphasize the scissors when they were never found? And finally, why emphasize doubt? They was only doubt for the prosecution, for most local, national, and international queer (and non queer) communities this was a pretty clear cut case.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

"There was only doubt for the prosecution, for most local, national, and international queer (and non queer) communities this was a pretty clear cut case."

What information did all these communities have that made it a clear-cut case? They had McDonald's changing stories, and their belief in the intrinsically racist and homophobic nature of police and our legal system. Legal cases are decided on evidence, and these communities had non whatsoever, just their anger.

This line of thinking is disgusting; you decide you know what happened because the "victim" is on your side (and also claim that nearly every community in the world agrees with you). There's absolutely nothing clear about this case (McDonald's stories weren't even consistent), and that's why we have trials. It's a prosecutor's job to have doubt and explore all angles of a case. Your logic is why so many people don't trust activist groups and leaders like Al Sharpton, because you boldly claim to have the truth on your side when you only know half (or less than half) of the case.

Like him or not, Schmidt was a human being with a family and a difficult past. To trivialize his death and deny his rights to a fair trial is oppressive. You guys have taken symbols (swastika, criminal past) and created a history about a man you know nothing about, and essentially claim that he deserved to die, or at least that his death is insignificant because he was probably an asshole. I'm not arguing that the trial has been completely fair (using McDonald's bad check conviction but not Schmidt's history of violent crimes is particularly glaring), but many of McDonald's supporters are just like any other lynch mob - protecting their own at all costs and ignoring the facts.

Indi Edwards Roughsedge
Indi Edwards Roughsedge

I've been on the other end of transphobic violence, i would of taken him out too, accidentally or otherwise. Self defence is something that all trans people have to think about. There is a line you never cross and its 10mm away from my face. Pass that and you forfeit your rights.

numol
numol

@Sleepswithbooks: don't be an asshole.

 
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