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Politics, life, and other things that matter

Maybe if she’d had a gun: Minneapolis denies the right of self-defense against hate crimes/corrected

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012


A transgendered African-American woman is set to go on trial next week on charges of second-degree murder for an altercation after she was reportedly physically attacked and called racist and homophobic slurs outside a Minneapolis bar last year. Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald received 11 stitches to her cheek, and was reportedly interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement following her arrest. There were reports that the dead victim, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattooed on his chest.

So McDonald’s face was slashed open and then she killed the person who did that.

These are facts similar to those asserted in the Trayvon Martin case, but with some important differences. Compare McDonald to Zimmerman and the deceased Dean Schmitz with the deceased Trayvon Martin:

1) Schmitz did have a deadly weapon, while Trayvon did not have a deadly weapon, while McDonald had been assaulted and seriously wounded.
2) Schmitz pursued her, while Zimmerman alleges that he was assaulted by Trayvon, who Zimmerman was following.
3) Schmitz was allegedly tattoed with a hate symbol, while Trayvon had none.
4) Schmitz allegedly had a history of harassing McDonald, while Trayvon was unknown to Zimmerman.

Now, there’s one more similarity and one more difference. McDonald used a knife, scissors while Zimmerman used a gun. And both of the dead people, one an assailant, one allegedly a victim, were black.

One is reminded of an ancient (50 years ago) Dick Gregory joke: “You complain about us cutting people. Well, hell, you won’t sell us any guns!”

This appears to be a stark illustration of why we need to confront hate crimes and demand an end to the stirring of racial hatred by TV news. Every person, black or white, gay or straight, has an absolute right to mind his or her own business in safety. For Minneapolis to charge someone in fear of her life with second degree murder, while it took a national campaign and intervention by the Governor to get Zimmerman charged with the same crime is clear evidence that the scales of justice are not balanced in this oh-so-free-and-fair country.
Note on the corrections: apparently one of Schmitz’s female companions opened up the wound on McDonald by throwing a glass at her. So Schmitz was not carrying a deadly weapon. Also, Schmitz was apparently stabbed with fabric scissors. Sorry about the mistakes. Like Stormcrow (see comments) I was completely disgusted by this. I got careless in writing it up.


3 Responses to “Maybe if she’d had a gun: Minneapolis denies the right of self-defense against hate crimes/corrected”

  1. Stormcrow said

    The “why” of this obscenity is blindingly obvious, immediately upon reading the story.

    She’s female, she’s transgendered, and she’s African-American.

    That’s three strikes against her right there.

    She’s probably going to be crucified.

    Makes me proud to be an American, it does. Now excuse me, while I go throw up.

    • Charles II said

      I’m afraid you’re right, Stormcrow. There has been a small protest, but nowhere near the magnitude that it would take to get a prosecutor to take notice.

  2. Thanks, Charles. This case is being all but ignored by the local establishment media; NPR just did a story on it (and Schmitz’ swastika tattoo), but that’s the only one they’ve done per Google. If you google “ce ce mcdonald”, you’ll not find much at all from, say the StarTribune — the one story from a Strib journalist (as opposed to a reader-generated blog post) that I could find is this one from December 2011 — but lots from local and national GLBT blogs as well as blogs by people of color.

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