Democracy Now: Transgender African-American Woman Faces Controversial Murder Trial
A transgender African-American woman is facing trial for murder after an incident outside a Minneapolis bar where she was reportedly harassed and then physically attacked. CeCe McDonald, who is 23 years old, is scheduled to stand trial later this month for second-degree murder. But supporters say McDonald was the victim on June 5, 2011, after two women and a man, all of them Caucasian, began harassing her and her friends outside a bar, calling them racial and homophobic slurs. One woman then allegedly hit McDonald in the side of the face with a glass beer mug. While the events remain unclear, a fight then ensued that left 47-year-old Dean Schmitz dead after he was apparently stabbed by a pair of fabric scissors that had been in McDonald’s purse. Police arrested McDonald, but did not arrest anyone else at the scene. McDonald received 11 stitches after her salivary gland was lacerated and the side of her cheek was sliced open by the beer mug. She was reportedly interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement. There were reports the dead man, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattooed on his chest and was known for making hateful remarks. McDonald supporters have compared the case to Trayvon Martin and said it highlights bias against transgender people and African Americans in the criminal justice system. She could face up to 80 years in prison.