OPINION | ‘Justice’ sweeps transwoman’s self-defense aside


Travesty on top of tragedy, Chrishaun ”CeCe” McDonald, railroaded to prison, was further victimized, demeaned in court this past June 5. CeCe McDonald shouldn’t be serving 25 minutes, let alone the three-and-a-half-year sentence she’s serving courtesy of let’s-make-a-deal justice. But she got caught out there, the wrong color and sexual persuasion in the worst possible circumstance.

CeCe and her homeys made the mistake of being Black While Breathing outside Minneapolis bar Schooner Tavern, compounded by the crime of not being heterosexual. Neanderthals on their way to getting crocked stood outside the bar talkin’ smack to McDonald and company who were minding their own damned business. When transsexual CeCe McDonald didn’t punk up but, instead, stuck up for herself, Molly Shannon Flaherty crashed her in the face with a glass, leaving a gash it took almost a dozen stitches to close.

Reeling in shock, McDonald was — pay attention to this part — going the other way, getting far from these animals fast as she could, when Dean Schmitz pursued her, still mouthing off, presenting, for all she knew, a threat to her life. Cece pulled out a pair of scissor and stuck it dead in Schmitz. Frankly, a most sensible response.

The legal system didn’t see it that way. The statue of that lady balancing scales needs to take that damned blindfold off and, like John A. Williams wrote, look at what’s going on. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman had the gall to say with a straight face that McDonald had options and wasn’t forced to kill Schmitz. He spoke through a southerly orifice, peddling a transparent bill of goods that swept justice aside like dirt under a rug.

Not only has McDonald been dealt an unconscionable injustice, she also had to eat crow. Here is an excerpt from news coverage of her appearance in court for sentencing:

”The pressures of being transgendered — namely, fear of rejection and of hostile reactions from others — resulted in spite and hatefulness, said McDonald.” The report went on in melodramatic terms, taking advantage of her words to sensationalize the moment as much as possible. “[McDonald] admitted that an inner rage brewed long before an exchange of words that ended with the deadly stabbing of Dean Schmitz. That pent-up fury exploded on the night of June 5, 2011, during an argument when McDonald stabbed the 47-year-old in the heart, killing him instantly.”

The quotes attributed to her are like those trumped-up, prisoner of war confessions terrorists extort from captives. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if she was instructed, “You will say word for word what we want you to say if you want to see daylight again while you’re still young and pretty.”


”CeCe” McDonald, instead of being exonerated is ensnared in the criminal injustice system, left to wonder what future awaits once the gates’ open.


Cece McDonald also was subjected to sanctimonious remarks from Schmitz’s kinfolk. They had the audacity to complain that the publicity her supporters generated protesting her plight distracted attention from Schmitz as victim. Victim my behind. He got exactly what his hand called for.

Tammy Luhmenn, who had three sons by him, tugged at the heartstrings, “Dean loved his children, and at the hands of Chrishaun McDonald, he can never tell them again.” Yeah, well, had this devotedly doting dad kept his racist, homophobic thoughts in his head and not taken it upon himself to put a Black fa**ot in her place, he’d still be alive today. There is no getting around that no matter how you slice it.

McDonald undoubtedly heaved a huge sigh of relief on jumping at a reduction from 25 to 30 years to about a year and half. You can’t blame her. What kind of jury of her peers could she possibly expect to see at trial? She also, by the way, has to come up with $6,400 in restitution for Schmitz’s funeral expenses.

Hell, it’s all now said and done. Chrishaun ”CeCe” McDonald, instead of being exonerated is ensnared in the criminal injustice system, left to wonder what future awaits once the gates’ open. A book deal? Movie deal? Nope.

You’re convicted of a crime, you are barred by law from profiting in any way, shape, form or fashion. So, she’ll have to try and pick up with her life from where she left off when this nightmare transpired.

Meanwhile, she’s behind bars. For no good reason. And has had to put up with a jacked-up excuse for jurisprudence that denies her the dignity she deserves.