CeCe McDonald case: Transgender woman's self-defense put on trial

CeCe McDonald, a black transgender woman, plead guilty to second degree manslaughter in order to lessen her sentence for the murder of a man that attacked her and a group of friends. She was struck and cut in the face by a cocktail glass and called offensive names, which caused a fight to break out in the bar they were in. As a result Dean Schmitz was stabbed and died later in the hospital.The judge ruled that the swastika tattoo found on the man’s body was not enough to prove that his attack was a hate crime. CeCe McDonald’s supporters stand by her innocence and ask that others continue to support her case regardless of the verdict. COLORLINES reports:

This week CeCe McDonald, the young black transgender woman on trial for murdering a white man who’d attacked her and a group of friends, shocked many of her supporters. Many thought she’d plead innocent to the second-degree murder charges, since the weapon was never found, and the case against her is largely circumstantial. But instead of pleading her innocence at the beginning of her trail, McDonald accepted a deal and plead guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter.

This case, more than any other of the numerous cases of black LGBT people accused of crimes after getting the better of an attacker, seemed to galvanize not only the transgender community and allies, but the attention of national press outlets, including MSNBC, Democracy Now!, The Advocate, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and many others. While many of us were hoping to see McDonald fight the charges and hopefully win an acquittal, I certainly hope that the transgender activists, the LGBT community and other allies don’t abandon McDonald, as is so often the case when the question of being “innocent” becomes the framework for the investment of sympathizers.

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