CeCe McDonald Trial Begins
[Update: There has apparently been a plea, Manslaughter 2 with a recommendation of 41 months. I don’t know much more than that, but it sounds like she was terrified into taking a plea that amounts to an injustice. I’ll rethink that if I learn facts that would actually change that.]
Some folks are already following the story. Others might vaguely recognize the name; for example some folks read about it here. (Warning about the comments … if you don’t want to see people making excuses for the dead neo-nazi, don’t read them.) For those unfamiliar, here’s the capsule:
Cece McDonald is a trans woman. She was walking with friends past a bar, when an older white man provoked a verbal altercation. When Cece McDonald turned around to stand up to him, his friends turned it into a physical altercation. Cece fought back. She ended up with a bad cut on her face, and Dean Schmitz ended up dead.
Many in this country were outraged by local authorities’ refusal to charge the man who killed Trayvon Martin, when the self-defense claim seemed at best highly dubious. Yet the local prosecutor in Hennepin County, Minnesota, decided to charge McDonald despite a far more credible claim of self-defense. How credible? Schmitz had a swastika tattoo on his chest, a domestic violence record, and was on cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol at the time of his death. A drugged up, violent white supremacist started hurling insults at a black trans woman, and he died in the ensuing fracas … and the prosecutor doubts that she acted in self-defense?
Rulings were expected this morning on the issue of the admissibility of the swastika, and on whether McDonald could present an expert to testify to the climate of violence that trans people face.
In Florida (where the law is different), George Zimmerman’s supporters assert that he can provoke a confrontation and “stand his ground” by shooting (I credit almost nothing of his story). In Minnesota, where a black trans woman stood her ground when words were hurled, then held her ground when others threw punches and finally used deadly force, the prosecution is trying to convict her.
And as Cece McDonald goes on trial, people in Oakland mourn for another trans woman killed. [update: three, very recently, in fact.]
Support page here.
Coverage of the trial here.
h/t Asher Bauer