CeCe McDonald, the 24-year-old African-American transwoman who courageously defended herself and friends from a vicious, racist, anti-lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer attack, will be released from jail in mid-January.
On June 5, 2011, McDonald, her roommate and some friends, all of them Black youth, were walking to the grocery store when a group of white adults outside a Minneapolis bar known as Schooner Tavern began to hurl racist and anti-LGBTQ slurs at them. As McDonald tried to get away with her friends, Molly Flaherty smashed a glass mug against her face and began throwing punches. The youth had no choice but to defend themselves.
Dean Schmitz, who by all accounts had been one of the main instigators of the incident — and specifically targeted McDonald for being trans — was stabbed with scissors and died on his way to the hospital. Schmitz, who had a swastika tattooed on his chest, not only had been affiliated with white supremacists but had also been convicted multiple times for domestic violence and assault.
Despite a strong public campaign to have the charges dropped, McDonald potentially faced decades in prison for murder. On June 4, 2012, as part of a plea agreement, she was sentenced to 41 months for second-degree manslaughter.
An official statement from McDonald and her support committee will be posted before her release. For more details on McDonald’s release, see facebook.com/freecece.mcdonald.