Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Call/email/fax the Hennepin County Attorney in support of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald


On December 16, call, email, and fax Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and tell him to drop the charges against CeCe! Flood the lines and let Freeman know we won’t rest till CeCe is free from this racist, transphobic prosecution.

Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald is a 23-year-old African American transgender woman who, after being violently attacked for her race and gender, is being unjustly charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman has the power to drop the charges against CeCe. So far, though, he has implicitly sided with CeCe’s white supremacist attackers by failing to acknowledge the racist, transphobic assault that she survived.

When: Monday, Dec 16, ALL DAY
Where: From home, work, wherever you find yourself!
What: Call Michael Freeman at 612-348-5540, fax at 612-348-2042, and email at citizeninfo@co.hennepin.mn.us

Remember to remain polite but assertive. Some key points to mention in your calls, emails, and faxes are:

  • Identify yourself as a supporter, friend, family member, or community member calling about Ms. Chrishaun McDonald’s case.
  • Tell the County Attorney’s Office why you’re concerned: Ms. McDonald was the target of a hate crime, but she was singled out for aggressive prosecution after the attack.
  • County Attorney Freeman has declined to press charges in cases like this at least three times already this year, and he has the power to drop the charges against Ms. McDonald.
  • Tell Freeman not to side with Ms. McDonald’s white supremacist attackers: drop the charges against Ms. McDonald.


Around 12:30 am on June 5, CeCe McDonald and four of her friends (all of them black) were on their way to Cub Foods. As they walked past the Schooner Tavern, a man and two women (all of them white) began to yell epithets at them. They called CeCe and her friends ”faggots,” ”niggers,” and “chicks with dicks.” They also suggested that CeCe was ”dressed as a woman” in order to ”rape” Dean Schmitz, one of the attackers. As they were shouting, one of the women smashed her drink into CeCe’s face, lacerating her salivary gland and slicing all the way through her cheek. A fight ensued, and although what happened in the fight is unclear, within a few minutes Dean Schmitz had been fatally stabbed.

Although it’s unclear what happened during the altercation, what we do know is that a group of white adults shouted racist, transphobic slurs at a group of young Black LGBT people and then physically assaulted CeCe, causing her serious injury. CeCe was denied adequate assistance and care by law enforcement on the scene and during her detention. Since then, she has been the target of prosecution by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Three times this year, County Attorney Michael Freeman has declined to press charges against individuals who have been attacked and whose attackers have been subsequently killed. (See “Stabbing determined to be in self-defense,” “Woman released in Sunday stabbing” [Aug. 31, 2011], and “No charges in self-defense slaying in NE Minneapolis” [Sept. 2, 2011] on hennepinattorney.org.)

Additionally, supporters of CeCe McDonald are alarmed by the recent story of Darrell Evanovich, an African American man who was killed by an armed white man in South Minneapolis, after Evanovich allegedly committed a robbery. ( http://kstp.com/article/stories/s2349047.shtml) The white man (whose name is unknown, as he has only been called a “good Samaritan” by the media) chased down Evanovich and shot him. County Attorney Freeman opted not to press charges in this case, even though the shooter admitted that he had shot and killed Evanovich. Although police know who is responsible for Evanovich’s death, the armed white man responsible is labeled a “good Samaritan.” Meanwhile, a young transgender woman of color is ruthlessly targeted with hefty criminal charges after she was verbally and physically assaulted by a group of white adults and one of her attackers was killed. This points to the reality that violence against white people is taken more seriously within the legal system than violence against people of color, and that white supremacist and transphobic violence–like the assault CeCe survived–is too often ignored.

Tell County Attorney Freeman that we will not stand for this kind of discriminatory prosecution in Hennepin County: drop the charges against CeCe McDonald! There has been tragic loss of life in each of these cases, and yet in each case, the County Attorney’s Office chose not to press charges because the survivors of the incidents were attacked and did not start the conflicts that subsequently unfolded. In contrast, the County Attorney has moved forward aggressively with two charges of second degree murder against CeCe. By choosing to press charges, the County Attorney’s Office is implicitly siding with her attackers. Luckily, there’s still time for Freeman to reverse his decision and drop the charges against CeCe.

Tell Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman to take a stand against hate, racism, and transphobia. Tell Freeman to DROP THE CHARGES against Chrishaun McDonald!

Future call-in days will be called for December 27th, and January 6th. Check back for details!

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