This Is What Happened to CeCe

This is a guest post by Redlark. Redlark is a white, lower-middle-class queer activist working a pink collar union gig in the Twin Cities. They are working with an amazing group of friends and allies of CeCe McDonald to get CeCe’s charges dropped and help her move back into her normal life.

Cece McDonald stood up to bigots and survived a hate crime. Now she’s in the county jail waiting to be tried for second degree murder.

This is a story about intersectionality – what happens when a young trans woman of color goes up against white supremacy, misogyny and transphobia. It’s a story about what happens when you have to fight for your life.

**
It began last June, the night of the 5th, when Cece and her friends – all young, black and queer – decided that they wanted to walk to the grocery store.

The grocery store in question is in south Minneapolis just off Lake Street, the busy, polluted, vital artery running from the wealthy white neighborhoods by the lakes through blocks of working class, multiracial, immigrant businesses before it ends in upmarket gentrification at the river. The grocery store is between the police station and the the light rail in a historically contested neighborhood where communities meet, mix and sometimes contend: the older white working class who bought in during the seventies and eighties meets immigrants from Mexico, Somalia and Central America who came looking for work or for political refuge; Native people still under the gun of colonization; African-Americans who’ve lived in Minneapolis for generations or arrived from Chicago or New Orleans in the last few years; students, punks and radicals, mostly but not exclusively white, gentrifiers or born in the neighborhood.

To get to the store, the group had to walk past a dive bar called the Schooner.

Dean Schmitz and his friends were standing outside the Schooner’s side door. All were older – Dean was 47 – and all were white. When they saw CeCe and her friends walk by, they started yelling – “faggots” “chicks with dicks” “n*****s” – a litany of vile abuse targeted at a group of much younger strangers.

CeCe McDonald has a strong sense of justice – she decided to confront Dean and his friends. So she and her group walked toward the bar.

**
Before we go any further, let’s talk about CeCe.

She’s 23, a college student in fashion design, a trans woman, Black, femme, very funny and widely known to be a generous person – a woman who housed and took care of her chosen family of younger queer and trans folks. Her friends call her Honee Bea.

CeCe is someone who fights for social change who even from jail has been urging her supporters to help other victims of white supremacy – including the family of Jaime Gonzalez, who was killed by the Texas police while he was at school.

She is someone who has faith in herself, in her community, in her values. “Love is inevitable and overcomes any and all things,” she writes.

CeCe and her friends are brave and tough, strong enough to walk around being visible in a world that attacks and criminalizes you if you’re young and African-American, and doubles the assault if you’re young and African-American and trans and femme.

You probably know – if you’re trans you definitely know – that trans women of color face incredible, staggering rates of violence and homicide. In most places it is essentially legal to discriminate against trans people in housing, employment and social services. As a result, trans people, especially trans women, are socially vulnerable in all kinds of ways – and vulnerable turns into “criminalized”, whether it’s because you can’t change your legal documents to match your gender or because you’re homeless and panhandling or because you’re doing sex work to make the rent…or because you have to fight to keep yourself safe

Trans people are ten to fifteen times more likely to have been incarcerated than cis people. Nearly half of all African-American trans people have spent time in the prison system.

Seventy percent of the GLBTQ people murdered in 2010 were people of color. Forty-four percent were trans women.

If you’re vulnerable, you have to wonder – will someone assault you? Will you survive? Will anyone help you? That’s a pretty heavy thing to carry around in the back of your mind every day.

***
CeCe and her friends knew the statistics, but they still dared to rebuke hatred when it spoke. They walked up the Dean Schmitz and his group, and CeCe told him that her crew would not tolerate hate speech.

But hatred hits back. One of Dean Schmitz’s friends told them, “I’ll take you bitches on,” and smashed her glass into Cece’s face, puncturing her cheek and badly lacerating her salivary gland.

There was a fight. Multiple people were involved. At the end, CeCe was on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Dean Schmitz was dead.

***
When the cops came, Cece was the only one they arrested. They took her to jail, withheld medical treatment, and sometime in the small hours got her to sign a confession. She recanted it as soon as she was able to do so.

Later, the medical examiner discovered a swastika tattoo on Dean Schmitz’s body.

***
Let’s talk about white supremacy, because this it haunts this case.

White supremacy is a system, and it runs on routine plus terror. The routine is the dull grind of discrimination – the stop-and-frisks of youth of color in the hope of finding something to get their fingerprints are in the system, the heavy policing in black neighborhoods and the heavy discipline in schools when kids of color are involved, the biased, expensive court system, the unspoken but obvious job discrimination and always, always the white supremacist narrative in mainstream culture saying that people of color deserve what they get.

And then there’s terror. Whether it’s the Jim Crow South or the modern North, it’s the knowledge that at any time you can be attacked, hurt, killed and no one will do anything. That your body, your life, your friends’ lives could always be on the line.

Terror keeps the machine humming. If you act up – if you talk back – anything might happen to you.
***
An interesting thing about prosecutor Michael Freeman: in the last year, he’s dropped charges against three people who killed accidentally while fighting for their lives. But he’s leaning on CeCe to plead guilty, and he initially persuaded the court to set her bail at an outrageous $500,000 – as if CeCe, the injured survivor of a hate crime, was some kind of risk to her community.

The court system isn’t neutral.

If you haven’t been on the wrong end of the legal system, it’s very easy to assume that the courts will sort everything out. Privileged people – white people, middle class people, cis people – can grow up identifying with the court system and with the idea of “neutrality” – especially when articulate white men in nice suits are talking. Something happened, privileged folks think, and the courts will figure it out, they’ll assign blame correctly, someone will pay a debt to society, and all’s well that ends well.

Here is what really happens: CeCe is in jail. Visiting is severely restricted, so getting a trans activist in to see her so that her friends can find her a trans-friendly lawyer is difficult. That lawyer has to work for free, because CeCe doesn’t have enough money and neither do her friends, and all her support committee’s money is going for bail. It takes a month to get meaningful treatment for injuries from the night of the attack, so her cheek swells up with a lump the size of a golf ball. She gets put in solitary “for her own protection” – which means ‘because she’s trans’ – and the support committee has to organize call-ins to get her out.

In order for a prisoner to be able to call you, you have to pay a monthly charge to a phone security service, and her friends are struggling to get work. So money has to be found for that. And the trial date has been moved once. Every time a trial date is set, her support committee mobilizes people — thirty or forty people have taken vacation days or changed their schedules so they could show up. Will it be moved again?

It’s easier and cheaper for the court system when people plead guilty, and it results in a politically-useful higher conviction rate. In the United States, the number of plea-bargains has skyrocketed in the last two decades and the number of actual trials has gone way down.

This is how the courts get people to take a plea – prisoners get tired and worn and confused and low in spirits, so they plead guilty just for a little certainty and an end to the ordeal. And many, many of those are people of color.
***

This isn’t just about CeCe. It’s about the way young women are harassed and assaulted every day in every city. It’s about the way trans women are treated as disposable and the way black youth are criminalized. It’s about the constant social violence by which white supremacy, transphobia and misogyny are maintained.

And it’s about whose experience counts. When we believe CeCe, we’re saying that we hear trans women, we hear youth of color and we believe what they say about their own lives. We name racism, we name violence, we name prejudice – and we refuse them with all the strength we have.

***
We need to get the charges against CeCe dropped. There’s precedent, the prosecutor has the authority and a victory here would be a victory for so many people – for CeCe, for her community and friends, for youth of color and trans youth who face violence and hatred. To do this, we need to get Michael Freeman to listen. We need voices. We need media.

We need to make it clear to Michael Freeman that this case is visible – we aren’t going to forget about CeCe no matter how often the trial gets moved, and we aren’t going to forget about any miscarriage of justice, either.

You can 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 don’t be afraid to be 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. Remind him that 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.

For more information and new developments: www.supportcece.wordpress.com. You can sign the petition calling for Michael Freeman to drop CeCe’s charges here.

Author: has written 216 posts for this blog.

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295 Responses

  1. Kristen
    Kristen February 9, 2012 at 10:14 am |

    FYI, the link to the site is messed up. Go here: http://www.supportcece.wordpress.com

    Here’s a direct link to the Change.org petition, also.

  2. Brightwanderer
    Brightwanderer February 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |

    Just FYI, the link to the word press site is broken (no need to publish this, just wanted to let you know.)

  3. Andie
    Andie February 9, 2012 at 10:39 am |

    This is horrible that she’s being put through all of this.

  4. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |

    Just FYI, the link to the word press site is broken (no need to publish this, just wanted to let you know.)

    It’s just a formatting error. Try this:

    http://supportcece.wordpress.com

  5. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    Thanks for the link, AngelH.
    Donation made and email sent.

  6. EG
    EG February 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

    Horrible. I wish I could say I was surprised, but as Redlark notes, transwomen of color are the targets of such extraordinary oppression and violence. I’ll be signing the petition and contributing to the defense fund tonight.

  7. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn February 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

    Is there any way that money can be donated to Ms. McDonald’s cause? Reading this I would love to help give money for her bail and if nothing else for the monthly phone charg?

  8. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn February 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    Heh.
    Helps if I read the website. I’m to clutter the forums

  9. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    is a guest post by Redlark. Redlark is a white, lower-middle-class queer activist working a pink collar union gig in the Twin Cities.

    Jill,

    When I was younger the term queer was pejorative term for gays. However, I’ve noticed being used a lot on many different blogs and it doesn’t seem to offend anyone. That said, I have two long time gay friends who I think would be hurt if I called them queer. Has it taken on different meaning? I take it someone who is queer is still gay, but is there also another connotation?

  10. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

    Joe, check out the link:

    http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=queer

    Wow, this story is incredible. I just feel absolutely sick thinking about this, the injustice of this case, and how this one example is one of hundreds, thousands, that are also this horrific, this unfair, this harmful. That wonderful people like CeCe are in prison, denied medical care, while people like Michael Freeman, who sounds like the absolute scum of the Earth, sit on the top of society’s status pyramid. I do definitely want to contact him and register my protest, but I cringe at the idea that to do so credibly I’ll have to treat him with a respect he doesn’t deserve. Thanks for sharing this with us Redlark.

  11. Sarah Harper
    Sarah Harper February 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Just sent the following email to the prosecutor:

    Dear Michael Freeman:

    You should drop the charges against Ms. Chrishaun McDonald. She is not a criminal, she is a victim of crime who fought back in self defense. You should drop the charges because:

    1. Ms. McDonald was attacked first, and severely injured. Her cheek was punctured through and her salivary gland was lacerated. After she received such a severe injury, from someone in a group of hostile people who had already been taunting her with racial and homophobic/transphobic slurs, she and her friends had every reason to believe their lives were in danger.

    2. The police acted improperly in this case. Even though this was a fight between two groups of people, one a group of black youth, the other a group of older white people, the only person arrested was Ms. McDonald, who is black and transgender. This smacks of racial and gender discrimination, especially since the group of older white people had been shouting racial, homophobic and transphobic slurs before the attack. This would qualify the initial assault against Ms. McDonald as a hate crime under the law.

    3. After Ms. McDonald was taken into custody, her rights were violated. Immediately after getting her cheek stitched up, while still in physical and emotional pain from the assault, she was left alone in a room for three hours and then interrogated, after which she was placed into solitary confinement. She spent the next several months in jail and had to wait almost two months between her initial doctors’ visit and a much-needed follow-up appointment. During that time, her cheek swelled into an extremely painful, golfball-sized lump, making eating difficult and producing headaches and pressure on her left eye and ear. The fact that her cheek injury was allowed to get that bad is clear evidence that she was denied her right to medical care.

    4. In the last year, you have dropped charges against three people who killed accidentally while fighting for their lives. To refuse to do the same in this case sends a message that under your watch, white supremacists have free rein to attack whoever they want, that the rules you use normally do not apply to them. Already, Ms. McDonald’s friends have faced racial harassment from those involved in the fight on the night of June 5th. Individuals circled the block that her friends were walking on and called them ‘niggers’ and ‘faggots’ and told them to ‘go back to Africa.’ When they attempted to wave down a passing squad car for assistance, the officer driving the car said he would not help them.

    If you believe that the same law applies to everybody without bias, the only proper course is clear: drop the charges again Ms. Chrishaun McDonald.

    Thank you,

    Sarah Harper

  12. Rachel
    Rachel February 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. This makes me sick but unfortunatly I am not supised. And, thank you for giving us the opportunity to help.

    I know you explain at the beginning what the piece is about but I would really appreciate an explicite trigger warning at the beginning. Thank you.

  13. Jadey
    Jadey February 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    When I was younger the term queer was pejorative term for gays. However, I’ve noticed being used a lot on many different blogs and it doesn’t seem to offend anyone. That said, I have two long time gay friends who I think would be hurt if I called them queer. Has it taken on different meaning? I take it someone who is queer is still gay, but is there also another connotation?

    The answer is yes and no. “Queer” has been reclaimed by many gay people. It has also be adopted (some would say co-opted and appropriated) by academics and philosophers. Some gay people are very offended by its use and I would never call someone queer without hearing them describe themselves that way first. Particularly gay men and especially older gay men who are more likely to have had it used as a slur against them specifically. There’s not a uniform consensus in the community.

    /101 derail

  14. Annie D
    Annie D February 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    Joe — I’m a lesbian who occasionally uses the word queer, so I will try to explain it to you.

    The word is in the process of being reclaimed, so it’s still touchy, and I can only claim to speak for how it’s used online and in my little group of queer friends in Australia.

    It was picked up by scholars in the 90s who used to it explain and unpack the way in which LGBT and non-cis gendered people are represented and treated in Australia. It’s fairly uncontroversially used in this academic context. It’s also used regularly as a personal identity by people who do not feel that labels like lesbian, gay or bisexual fit easily. It can also be used as an umbrella term: it’s much easier to say than “a group of LGBT people.” I feel like this is well accepted.

    As always with insults, its more about intent, but I would try to steer clear of the word around your LGBT friends until they use it themselves. You could also just ask them, but its probably not cool if you’re already constantly bombarding them with questions about their homosexual lifestyle — that’s what google is for.

  15. Annie D
    Annie D February 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm |

    I meant to say “It was picked up by scholars in the 90s who used to it explain and unpack the way in which LGBT and non-cis gendered people are represented and treated in society”, but I haven’t had my breakfast coffee yet.

  16. Sergey
    Sergey February 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |

    There’s a lot of commentary that generates sympathy here, and much of it is warranted – letting her cheek swell up like that is inexcusable. But this is hardly a fair account of what happened – saying, for example, “They took her to jail, withheld medical treatment, and sometime…” makes it sound like she got no medical treatment at all, when in reality she was taken to the hospital first and got medical attention. The treatment withheld was the necessary follow-up. Still inexcusable, clearly.

    I’m also not terribly inclined to give her sympathy when her community bands together to get her out on bail and she promptly violates her bail by doing drugs and gets hauled back in. Does the bail money her friends and family posted disappear when she violates the terms of her conditional release? I would hope not, but all the worse if it does.

    Should the charges be dropped? Probably. But the account both here and her support website conveniently leave out any of the important details as to what she may or may not be guilty of. I am absolutely one of those people who believes in the justice system, and I think the fact that our self-defense doctrine has limits is a good thing. And here, it’s entirely possible [though theres no way to tell since I can't find an account of what transpired during the fight] that she crossed the line, and may in fact be guilty. Not every act of violence against you empowers you to respond with deadly force.

    If I were the prosecutor, I’d drop the charges since the other guy started it and he was clearly a racist bigot – but that’s different from saying she’s not guilty of a crime. And if the prosecution does decide to move forward, which if she IS guilty is hardly an injustice, having a jury hear her story is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, that’s the only way to make context legally relevant. The law, so far as I know, doesn’t recognize the loaded circumstances that lead up to the fight. There’s no exceptions built in for minorities who are defending against injustice. But asking a jury if she acted reasonably under the circumstances allows the context to become relevant. So a jury trial here is hardly an injustice.

    Unless of course, she’s totally innocent, and only other people involved threw punches [or stabbed someone, as the case may be] and she was completely passive. But it’s strikingly hard to figure out if that’s the case from the descriptions – both here and elsewhere – that summarize everything as “a fight happened.”

  17. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |

    LotusBen, Jadey, and Annie D,

    Thanks! I think I understand more now, but still confused by it’s intermittent use, so I will take your advice and avoid it.

    including the family of Jaime Gonzalez, who was killed by the Texas police while he was at school.

    Jill,

    I was going to write a longer response to this, but decided to hold off. Perhaps I’m confused and you’re not talking about the shooting itself, but something related to it? But if you are referring to the shooting, can you please enlighten me as to why this incident is an example of obvious discrimination? Do you have information on this that the general public does not?

  18. Redlark
    Redlark February 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

    Hey all,

    I wanted to add that there is a “drop the charges” petition here:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/free-cece-were-looking-at-you-michael-freeman-drop-the-charges-against-cece-mcdonald

    And you certainly can donate money at the website linked above – in fact, we need funds a bit more than we’d initially thought to help with trial and jail expenses. Even $5 would be great, honestly.

  19. karak
    karak February 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |

    My mother was ground through the system in the exact same way they’re doing to CeCe; fighting back against a bigger white man. Her saving grace was our privilege–our ability to pay money, for her family to show up in court and look nice, the fact that we were so “normal” and “traditional”… I know we would have never gotten her back if it weren’t for our privilege.

    I remember how alone and afraid she felt. I will help CeCe as much as I can, in memory of my mother, and every person who’s ever been punished for fighting back.

  20. Calderon
    Calderon February 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    The article does an excellent job of setting up the broader context of the issues, and focuses on many aspects that a court won’t. That said, I think it would be helpful, perhaps even necessary, to know what happened in the fight to determine whether charges against CeCe should be dropped. The post says the following, and the Support CeCe page says something similar:

    There was a fight. Multiple people were involved. At the end, CeCe was on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Dean Schmitz was dead.

    I just don’t think that provides enough information about what happened to make a judgment on the charges. Obviously if someone else killed Schmitz, or CeCe killed Schmitz when he was attacking her or her friends, the charges should be dropped. But there are murkier scenarios such as if CeCe stabbed Schmitz without Schmitz attacking her or her friends, or if Schmitz was fighting, then decided to retreat and CeCe stabbed him.

    In any case, Schmitz’s friend who cut open CeCe’s face definitely should be investigated, and tried for aggravated battery or other appropriate felonies if the facts presented are correct.

  21. Jeanne
    Jeanne February 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    Today I sent this letter to the Prosecutor:

    Dear Michael Freeman,

    I expect that some will doubt the sincerity of this, but I truly did approach your office with concern but with an open mind regarding the case of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald.
    I am middle class, fifty-nine and white. I admit my own fears and bias of intercity youth at times so the outcome of my search for information could have come out much different.

    I have done my best for over a month to collect as many facts as I can from news sources and your office. Today I have sent my first Letter to the Editor, regarding this prosecution and jailing, to your StarTribune.

    I hope your office will consider an outsiders perspective as you hold your view of “beyond reasonable doubt” CeCe McDonald’s claim of self – defense.

    Dear StarTribune Editor,

    Perception of Minnesota ala Garrison Keillor moves toward George
    Wallace’s Alabama.

    Minneapolis to Moscow people are seeing an extremely positive
    articulate twenty-three year old co-ed with no criminal record
    simply Cub Foods bound, attacked by three middle-aged bar patrons screaming racist, homophobic and transgender-phobic hate, then slicing open her face with broken glass.

    Hennepin County Prosecutors sends this to those who ask about CeCe McDonald:

    *“In cases of self-defense, our office may decline to press
    charges if the facts of the case meet the standard defined by
    state law. “

    “Self-defense is available under Minnesota law when “necessary
    in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably
    believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or
    death.” Based on the information we have, this case does not
    meet the standard.” *

    CeCe McDonald had already suffered “great bodily harm”, a cut to her face required 12 stitches with a month’s golf ball size swelling.
    Hennepin County’s Prosecutor and the Judicial system shows little respect for “self-defense” and “innocent until proven guilty” by; ignoring the hate and the one who sliced CeCe, charging CeCe with murder with intent to kill, demanding an unattainable one-half
    million dollars bond, withholding medical treatment and jailing CeCe
    pretrial for most of eight months in solitary confinement “for her
    protection” or housing her with the male prisoners.

    It’s time for Minneapolis to question your Prosecutor!

    Jeanne Smith
    Bloomington, IN, USA

  22. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim February 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    But there are murkier scenarios such as if CeCe stabbed Schmitz without Schmitz attacking her or her friends,

    However, that’s clearly not the case. As has been stated by every reliable witness, Schmitz and his friends DID attack CeCe and her friends. Schmitz’s own brother-in-law said that Schmitz was known to engage in violent, racist behavior when he had been drinking. And CeCe had a golfball-sized swelling on her cheek from where the racist woman attacked her.

    Whenever a police officer kills someone, we’re told that we “can’t understand what it’s like to have to make split-second decisions with life-or-death implications”. Yet CeCe was in exactly the same position. She was threatened and violently attacked. Regardless of whose hand was on the implement Schmitz (the guy with the swastika tattoo) was stabbed with, anything CeCe or her friends did was wholly defensive in nature.

    Redlark addresses just this kind of skepticism in the article: We’ve been conditioned by the media all our lives to believe that the criminal justice system can adequately and fairly adjudicate this kind of question. What those who’ve been at its mercy understand, however, is that there’s nothing just about that system. It’s a direct outgrowth of the genocidal warriors of European conquest and the monstrous brutality of fugitive-slave catchers. The system is not broken in this case, rather it is doing precisely what it was set up to do: Maintain white supremacy and patriarchy at all costs.

  23. Meg
    Meg February 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |

    Thanks for this article Redlark.

    Have signed petition and shared on fb, but not really sure whether responses from other countries help? Am in Aust. I would send an email to the prosecutor if I thought it would be effective from over here – do any people who do internet based organising have thoughts on this?

  24. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm |

    CeCe is someone who fights for social change who even from jail has been urging her supporters to help other victims of white supremacy – including the family of Jaime Gonzalez, who was killed by the Texas police while he was at school.

    I was with you until I read this. What happened to Gonzalez is tragic, but the police officers involved did absolutely nothing wrong. Are you really telling me you can tell the difference between these two images, instantly, while someone’s pointing a gun at you from down a hallway?

  25. Lauralot
    Lauralot February 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

    I’ve emailed the prosecutor and I’m writing a letter to CeCe now. I’ve shared the story on Facebook and Twitter, with the tag SupportCeCe. I plan to put up flyers about her situation around my campus tomorrow.

  26. Mark Erickson
    Mark Erickson February 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

    This case is tragic enough already. You don’t need to make it seem like CeCe is still in jail. Her bail was quickly reduced to $150k and then $75k in September. She’s currently out on bail (which required raising $7,500 in cash), although possibly under house arrest or confined travel. This info is from the Startribune.

  27. Mark Erickson
    Mark Erickson February 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

    CeCe was granted work furlough in December. http://supportcece.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/trial_continued_to_430/

  28. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 10, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    She was threatened and violently attacked. Regardless of whose hand was on the implement Schmitz (the guy with the swastika tattoo) was stabbed with, anything CeCe or her friends did was wholly defensive in nature.

    Yes, this is completely my understanding. I realize that she supposedly admitted immediately afterwards that she was the one who stabbed him, with an implement she carried for protection, and that’s obviously the primary reason why she was the one arrested, but I don’t see how that changes a thing. If this wasn’t self-defense, then what was?

    But, Natilo, I wish that you could adjust and/or broaden your rhetoric a little, because as it is now, it entirely erases the extremely significant role that transphobia played in this, together with racism. You don’t say a single word about it, or about the fact that it was the very specific impetus for the harassment itself, and also was a major factor in CeCe’s treatment by the police. Let’s not completely ignore that, please. It happens all too often. (And your reference to patriarchy isn’t nearly enough to cover it.)

  29. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 10, 2012 at 12:34 am |

    Petition signed and shared on FB, can we not derail with the Gonzalez case though? It seems like it was only mentioned as an example of how, even when most people would be worried solely about their own safety and future, CeCe’s trying to support others. She sounds like an amazing woman, and I hope Mr. Freeman wakes up and smells the bigotry (and then does something about it).

  30. April
    April February 10, 2012 at 1:01 am |

    Shared on the OccupyMN Facebook. We’ve been following the case and support her. Thank you for sharing this background info and the context — it’s much needed for many to understand why this is so important, and why CeCe is being targeted.

  31. Jeanne
    Jeanne February 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    Calderon, I know this may not address all of your possible ways to hold out for “objectivity”, but after identifying myself as a business owner, not a transwoman, I got two calls back from the prosecutors office in the second, I specifically asked, did CeCe McDonald in fact receive the wound to her face before the fatal injury to Dean Schmitz? His answer was yes. Please note too that in Minnesota, all that is necessary for “self-defense” is the belief that you or someone else might be in danger of serious injury or death. That CeCe was in fact seriously injured, seems to make the belief of that… well I would say certain.

  32. Anecdotal
    Anecdotal February 10, 2012 at 1:10 am |

    When I was younger the term queer was pejorative term for gays. However, I’ve noticed being used a lot on many different blogs and it doesn’t seem to offend anyone. That said, I have two long time gay friends who I think would be hurt if I called them queer. Has it taken on different meaning? I take it someone who is queer is still gay, but is there also another connotation?

    Joe,

    I’m a lesbian and I think there are a few different ways to interpret queer. While the term queer has become a perjorative term the connotations of the term are still in flux. I have a male friend who is bisexual and identifies as queer. In his particular circle there are also some individuals who are mostly heterosexual but identify as queer. From what I have gathered a lot of the members of this particular sub-community don’t identify with a particular gender, even if they do identify with a particular sexual orientation. For example, one acquaintance is dates and sleeps with women pretty exclusively, but identifies as queer because he doesn’t consider himself to adhere to traditional gender expectations – he often wears nail polish, dresses, etc. I *think* (I don’t presume to speak for the LGBT community) that what it boils down to is that what was once mostly a word reclaimed by the gay and lesbian community is evolving into a political orientation describing a person’s attitudes toward their adherence to traditional gender roles. Again, I could be getting this wrong – especially since I don’t identify as queer – but that is my best understanding of it.

  33. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser February 10, 2012 at 4:13 am |

    “The system is not broken in this case, rather it is doing precisely what it was set up to do: Maintain white supremacy and patriarchy at all costs.

    Then what exactly is the point of signing the petitions and calling the prosecutor and working within the system? If it’s a rigged game, it’s pointless to try and win, right?

    Obviously there has been much wrong done against non-white, non-heteronormative minorities by the System, to put it mildly. But that same system is also responsible for every progressive move in the last century towards the goal of full civil rights for everyone. Brown v Board, Loving v Virgina, Roe v Wade, Lawrence v Texas… those cases were all decided by the System.

    It doesn’t work perfectly, it doesn’t work all the time, and it certainly could work BETTER as this case so tragically shows. But unless you can tell me what you propose to replace the current system with that addresses all the problems with this one, I will stick with those slow but fine grinding wheels.

  34. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 10, 2012 at 4:28 am |

    can we not derail with the Gonzalez case though? It seems like it was only mentioned as an example of how, even when most people would be worried solely about their own safety and future, CeCe’s trying to support others.

    I responded to that because people are posting some very ill-thought out, sweeping indictments of the entire criminal justice system, and that seemed like a good example.

    We’ve been conditioned by the media all our lives to believe that the criminal justice system can adequately and fairly adjudicate this kind of question.

    Things about the criminal justice system are broken, and need to be fixed. Anyone with a decent grasp of the issue knows this. But your alternative is what? If someone says they killed someone in self defense, just take their word for it? Read this carefully:

    But hatred hits back. One of Dean Schmitz’s friends told them, “I’ll take you bitches on,” and smashed her glass into Cece’s face, puncturing her cheek and badly lacerating her salivary gland. There was a fight. Multiple people were involved. At the end, CeCe was on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Dean Schmitz was dead.

    You know what? The person she killed wasn’t the person that injured her. It’s not even clear from the article whether Dean Schmitz was part of the fight. So maybe his killing was in self defense, and maybe it wasn’t. That’s why we have trials- to figure it out. The fact that Dean was an awful, bigoted human being, said bigoted things, and had a friend who attacked CeCe doesn’t mean his killing is necessarily justified.

    I specifically asked, did CeCe McDonald in fact receive the wound to her face before the fatal injury to Dean Schmitz? His answer was yes. Please note too that in Minnesota, all that is necessary for “self-defense” is the belief that you or someone else might be in danger of serious injury or death.

    That’s actually completely untrue. Please fact-check before posting.

    Under Minnesota law, self defense requires that

    a) You have a reasonable belief
    b) that you or someone else is in immediate danger
    c) from which you or the other person cannot escape
    d) and you respond with reasonable force.

    So Cece needs to show that she couldn’t have run away instead of stabbing Dean, that Dean, not the woman who assaulted her, was the person she was in danger from, and that her stabbing him was a reasonable reaction to the threat he presented. She’ll presumably do so at trial. Which makes sense.

  35. karak
    karak February 10, 2012 at 5:02 am |

    @Brian Schlosser:

    I’m so happy you felt the need to come into a post that perfectly exemplifies racism, transphobia, and the struggle of the oppressed… in order to lecture about how the nice white people gave them so many nice things, and aren’t they grateful?

    I also admire the way you (metaphorically) flopped on the ground and began making screaming squawking noises, in the way a small bird does. I fully intend to digest 50+ decades of Civil Rights work and literature so I can vomit it into your waiting, expectant mouth. Then, I suspect, you will vomit it back in my face in some weird effort to argue with me that, no, everything is fine and I am wrong.

    So, claps for you! Unfortunately, I have already vomited knowledge into the waiting mouth of an antichoice activist and so my brain is a bit empty, but I’m sure someone else will be more than happy to cater to you; be your progressive mama bird and all that.

  36. Anon21
    Anon21 February 10, 2012 at 6:27 am |

    What a weird, weird, thing to say, Brian. I mean, I think The System occasionally gets a bit too much scorn heaped upon it–there is room within it for resistance and progress, and you cite some legit examples of that. But who would ever think to say something like “[T]hat same system is also responsible for every progressive move in the last century towards the goal of full civil rights for everyone”?

    I mean, to just pick the most obvious example from the civil rights era: what do you think activists were doing when they sat in at segregated lunch counters, or marched in defiance of federal court injunctions? Not working within the system. Civil disobedience–rejecting the racist system’s supposedly “neutral” rules–was one of the most potent tactics in civil rights workers’ arsenal.

    It would be better to turn your statement entirely around. It’s hard to think of any progressive change eventually acceded to by the system that was not spurred and forced by actions outside of, and in opposition to, the system–usually by those whom the system excluded.

  37. EG
    EG February 10, 2012 at 7:24 am |

    But that same system is also responsible for every progressive move in the last century towards the goal of full civil rights for everyone.

    Bullshit. The direct action–often illegal, almost always brutally fought by the system–of the labor movement during the Depression was responsible for the New Deal. The direct action–often illegal, almost always brutally fought by the system–of the civil rights movement was responsible for the end of Jim Crow. Ditto gay rights. The fact that sometimes the legal system responds to massive pressure put on it by extralegal direct actions does not mean that the system is responsible for the progressive change it then enacts in order to save itself.

    Way to erase all those activists who put their bodies on the line for justice in this country.

  38. Officer A
    Officer A February 10, 2012 at 8:14 am |

    Obviously there has been much wrong done against non-white, non-heteronormative minorities by the System, to put it mildly. But that same system is also responsible for every progressive move in the last century towards the goal of full civil rights for everyone. Brown v Board, Loving v Virgina, Roe v Wade, Lawrence v Texas… those cases were all decided by the System.

    I would argue that the acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations are what brought enough attention to each issue to make/force the courts take enough notice to actually hear and rule on them rather than continue to ignore them. The SCOTUS picks and chooses what it wants to hear and those who are fighting for something are the ones who basically kick the system in the rear and get it doing what it is supposed to do. (Sorry, this was a very US centric post.)

  39. Li
    Li February 10, 2012 at 8:58 am |

    Karak, that is perhaps one of the most perfect comments ever written on the internet.

  40. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated February 10, 2012 at 9:11 am |

    The oh-so-obvious question to Freeman will be if he would have ruled self-defense for an upper-middle-class Caucasoid male and his well-dressed buddies, presuming their identical attack by neo-Nazi equivalents, after chiding them about hate speech. Well-to-do white men who are called out on their own prejudices may be inclined to defend each other, but Freeman, who has a record of liberating self-defenders, is a primo candidate for reeducation and rehab.

  41. Mark Erickson
    Mark Erickson February 10, 2012 at 10:21 am |

    From my link above, the defense agreed to postpone trial until April due to the schedule of their expert witness.

    More importantly, I was thinking you were using the present tense for effect in the middle of the article, but after rereading, you flatly state at the beginning CeCe is in jail right now. That is not true. I suggest you correct this ASAP.

    Being wrong about such a basic fact undermines your credibility on other things in the post. For instance, are the three cases of dropped charges really similar to this case? I don’t know, but based on being wrong about being in jail, I am justified in having doubts.

    I am entirely sympathic to CeCe, in fact I’m writing this to show what a tremendous disservice you are doing to her.

  42. Jadey
    Jadey February 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |

    @ Mark Erickson

    As of January, CeCe’s bail release was revoked for alleged violations of parole. It says so on the website. So I think *you* need to check and correct your facts.

    https://supportcece.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/update-on-ceces-remand-into-custody/

    On January 4th, CeCe McDonald was told by her attorney that a bench warrant was issued for her, for two alleged violations of her conditions of release. Her PO alleges that she tampered with her electronic monitoring device for twelve hours; it was argued in court that this could have been a mechanical issue and that the state hasn’t provided evidence that CeCe was responsible. And though on previous occasions CeCe has passed the random drug tests she’s been required to take, she tested positive for THC on December 29th. On the afternoon of January 4th, CeCe turned herself in to the court and on January 5th, she appeared for a hearing on these allegations in a courtroom packed with supporters.

    Judge Moreno heard arguments from both sides. The defense asked for the lowering of her bail so CeCe’s community could raise money for her release, and reminded the court that CeCe is not any more a threat to society than she was before the alleged violations. The defense also reminded the court that McDonald already has a job working at a local café and has been trusted to go to and from doctor’s appointments and work in the past, with no problems.

    Judge Moreno ruled against CeCe, and set her bail at $500,000. Her trial is not scheduled to start until April 30, 2012.

    Supporters will continue to spread the word about the injustice McDonald is suffering in the legal system, and to demand that Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman drop the charges against her.

    Based on the same tenth rule, she would have to raise $50,000 to post bail now.

    Spreading misinformation undermines your credibility.

  43. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    From my link above, the defense agreed to postpone trial until April due to the schedule of their expert witness.

    More importantly, I was thinking you were using the present tense for effect in the middle of the article, but after rereading, you flatly state at the beginning CeCe is in jail right now. That is not true. I suggest you correct this ASAP.

    Being wrong about such a basic fact undermines your credibility on other things in the post. For instance, are the three cases of dropped charges really similar to this case? I don’t know, but based on being wrong about being in jail, I am justified in having doubts.

    I am entirely sympathic to CeCe, in fact I’m writing this to show what a tremendous disservice you are doing to her.

    You know what, Mr. Mark Erickson? You’re the one spreading misinformation and doing a disservice to CeCe by insisting that she’s out of jail, and it pisses me off immensely. If you actually bothered to follow up and look at the latest updates, you’d see that she’s been incarcerated again since early January, when her bail was set at the ludicrous and outrageous amount of $500,000:

    http://supportcece.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/update-on-ceces-remand-into-custody/

    Hello community of CeCe supporters.

    On January 4th, CeCe McDonald was told by her attorney that a bench warrant was issued for her, for two alleged violations of her conditions of release. Her PO alleges that she tampered with her electronic monitoring device for twelve hours; it was argued in court that this could have been a mechanical issue and that the state hasn’t provided evidence that CeCe was responsible. And though on previous occasions CeCe has passed the random drug tests she’s been required to take, she tested positive for THC on December 29th. On the afternoon of January 4th, CeCe turned herself in to the court and on January 5th, she appeared for a hearing on these allegations in a courtroom packed with supporters.

    Judge Moreno heard arguments from both sides. The defense asked for the lowering of her bail so CeCe’s community could raise money for her release, and reminded the court that CeCe is not any more a threat to society than she was before the alleged violations. The defense also reminded the court that McDonald already has a job working at a local café and has been trusted to go to and from doctor’s appointments and work in the past, with no problems.

    Judge Moreno ruled against CeCe, and set her bail at $500,000. Her trial is not scheduled to start until April 30, 2012.

    Supporters will continue to spread the word about the injustice McDonald is suffering in the legal system, and to demand that Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman drop the charges against her.

    You owe Redlark and everyone else an apology.

  44. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 11:00 am |

    Jadey, sorry, I didn’t see your comment before I posted a similar correction of Mr. Erickson’s misinformation. (Mine is in moderation, but will presumably emerge eventually and wanted to apologize in advance for the duplication.)

  45. Jadey
    Jadey February 10, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    @ Donna L

    Hey, two smack-downs are better than one. I’m always pleased to be in esteemed company. :D

  46. William
    William February 10, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    I was with you until I read this. What happened to Gonzalez is tragic, but the police officers involved did absolutely nothing wrong. Are you really telling me you can tell the difference between these two images, instantly, while someone’s pointing a gun at you from down a hallway?

    Police kill people of color all the time and lie about it. They use excessive force, they escalate, they move to greater levels of force almost reflexively. Because of their history of violence, often unprovoked and racially based, the police accounting of events is suspect. I do not believe them when they say that Gonzalez brandished a gun because my life experience, and the experiences of generations of people around me, has lead me to the conclusion that police lie as a matter of course and that their superiors continue to lie in order to cover for officers who killed someone they believe is subhuman. This is especially true when the police themselves appear to admit that one of the shots Gonzalez suffered was to the back of the head, a scenario which is really only possible if they continued to fire as he fell or fled.

    Finally I’m someone who is moderately familiar with guns. I own several and do a lot of shooting. I cannot say with certainty that I would be able to tell the difference between the airsoft gun Gonzalez had in his hand and a real pistol, but I can tell you that at a glance I knew which weapon was real from the pictures in the link you provided. The sights, the gap at the magazine, and the odd switch on the slide behind the ejection port are all clear indications that we’re not looking at a real weapon. Moreover, the barrel for a pellet gun is generally only about 6mm, smaller than pretty much any caliber a pistol like that would be chambered for outside of .22. Hell, the airsoft gun Gonzalez had wasn’t even that great a replica.

    Maybe its asking too much to expect police in a potentially life-or-death situation to be able to tell the difference, but I can’t help but wonder if they would have even bothered because they knew from experience that no one really cares if they kill a latino kid as long as they have something resembling an explanation. What we do know is that there was a little under two minutes between police seeing the gun and their report of shots fired. Thats nearly 120 seconds of observation time from people who are supposed to be trained professionals and are very likely experienced members of gun culture given their jobs and region. I’ve run into people on firing ranges who can tell you the make, model, and caliber of a weapon from across the room.

  47. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |

    Separately, since others have addressed derails in this thread, the question about “what does queer mean” — which might have been understandable 20 years ago, but is at a level way below 101 at this point — was a huge one, and I think people are being too nice in responding to it. Especially since there’s no evidence whatsoever that CeCe McDonald identifies as such. A great many trans women (I’d say “most” but won’t since I can’t prove it) don’t, at least as a matter of gender identity as opposed to sexual orientation — not that the two concepts are necessarily as distinct as the textbooks would have one believe. In fact, many self-identified “queer” people, and exponents of queer theory, have been annoyingly hostile to, and/or condescendingly dismissive of, binary trans women and their identities. (See the discussion of this issue in Julia Serano’s book.)

    In other words, I don’t think the discussion belongs in this thread.

    1. Mark Erickson
      Mark Erickson February 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |

      Sorry. My bad.

  48. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser February 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    “everything is fine and I am wrong.

    Yes, that’s why I said “It doesn’t work perfectly, it doesn’t work all the time, and it certainly could work BETTER as this case so tragically shows”

    I also never asked anyone to vomit anything into my mouth. Can you point out my baby-bird language amidst the rest of my flopping

    Clearly I should have clarified: Yes, of course the courts moved in response to civil disobedience and people putting their lives on the line to change an unjust system. The inertia of 200 years of brutality is too much to overcome otherwise. I assumed that I wouldn’t have to spell that out, but I guess that just made an ass out of me this time.

    My question was aimed at Natilo Paennim, who hasn’t answered, and no one else has either, so I will ask it again: If the system is rigged and exists only to uphold white supremacy and the patriarchy, what is the point of this post? The author wants us to contact the DA, sign petitions, call officers of the court, etc. But if it’s a rigged system, then what possible good will that do? CeCe is doomed to be a martyr.

    As I indicated, I DON’T think the system wholly exists to uphold white supremacy and the patriarchy. I think that is it’s goal only about 88% of the time. So I think that the actions requested by the author ARE useful, and I will do as many of them as I can. This case is sickening.

  49. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim February 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

    DonnaL:

    I realize that she supposedly admitted immediately afterwards that she was the one who stabbed him, with an implement she carried for protection, and that’s obviously the primary reason why she was the one arrested

    Please re-read the article. CeCe was arrested immediately upon the arrival of the police. After hours spent without medical attention for a major wound the police got her to make a qualified confession. Which she retracted.

    because as it is now, it entirely erases the extremely significant role that transphobia played in this, together with racism.

    No, it doesn’t. The article we are discussing specifically foregrounds CeCe’s position as a transgendered person, and the importance of that in her prosecution. Nothing I wrote “erases” any of that. This incident occurred just blocks from where I work, and about a mile from where I live. I was one of the first people to contact other activists to alert them to this injustice. I attended the first support committee meeting, and the rally after her first court appearance, and have donated to CeCe’s defense and advocated for her online and in person. I am well aware that this case hinges not only upon racism and misogyny, but also that specific aspect of sexual repression identified as transphobia. HOWEVER, I would argue that it is erroneous to believe that the creation and maintenance of our corrupt and useless criminal justice system is primarily due to ruling-class transphobia. The police are here primarily to maintain the color line. CeCe’s African-American identity, and the whitness of her attackers, is of critical importance to this case.

    Please do not play Oppression Olympics with me. I’ve been in the radical scene for over twenty years, and I have long since grown sick of people using their membership in, or support for, a marginalized group to rhetorically attack those they disagree with.

  50. QLH
    QLH February 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

    Joe, you keep addressing your comments to Jill specifically.

    The article was posted by “guest blogger.” The first paragraph of the post (in bold and italics, to catch your attention) begins with:

    This is a guest post by Redlark.

    Jill’s great, but this isn’t about her.

  51. piny
    piny February 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    No, it doesn’t. The article we are discussing specifically foregrounds CeCe’s position as a transgendered person, and the importance of that in her prosecution. Nothing I wrote “erases” any of that.

    But I’m going to go right ahead and erase it now!

    HOWEVER, I would argue that it is erroneous to believe that the creation and maintenance of our corrupt and useless criminal justice system is primarily due to ruling-class transphobia. The police are here primarily to maintain the color line. CeCe’s African-American identity, and the whitness of her attackers, is of critical importance to this case.

    Please do not play Oppression Olympics with me. I’ve been in the radical scene for over twenty years, and I have long since grown sick of people using their membership in, or support for, a marginalized group to rhetorically attack those they disagree with.

    This is a deeply offensive thing to say. There’s no question that police departments around the country treat trans civilians as criminals–and that brutal violence against trans people is policy and law. CeCe has been treated this way not because she is trans or because she is a woman of color but because she is a trans woman of color. And the idea that transphobia is less entrenched because it takes less effort to brutalize a relatively tiny population is pretty weak theory. Her trans status is also critical, equally critical.

    It’s also offensive to imply that Donna’s investment in this is a way of rhetorically attacking people she disagrees with rather than the natural outgrowth of her identity and life. This is not strategy. She has the authority to speak on this event and the political currents rising around it, and nobody has any right to disparage her arguments as weaponized identity politics. No matter how many years they’ve spent in the radical scene.

  52. matlun
    matlun February 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    Please re-read the article. CeCe was arrested immediately upon the arrival of the police. After hours spent without medical attention for a major wound

    Is this correct? When I read up on this, one of the main issues in the trial was that they had the first interview while she had just gotten stitches and was still drugged with painkillers. Ie after she got medical attention. (And this was when she admitted to stabbing Schmidt)

    Also, isn’t she now saying she stabbed him with the scissors in self defense? So the fact that she stabbed him is not in dispute?

  53. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    Natilo–that’s really awesome you’ve been doing so much for CeCe! My lazy ass definitely respects people who put their money where their mouth is for an important cause. Still, I’m not sure why DonnaL saying that she “wish[es] that you could adjust and/or broaden your rhetoric a little” qualifies as a a “rhetorical attack” or the “Oppression Olympics.” I mean, like you say, this case hinges on not only racism and misogyny but transphobia. So given that you agree transphobia is highly salient in the case, it seems quite reasonable to me to hope that a prominent Minneapolis radical activist would address this reality while discussing the case. And address it without having to be asked, and address it not only in the context of a defensive self-justification. And maybe you have been addressing it a lot already, in the rallies and other websites, in which case–great!

    So anyway I admire your work on this case and against what I agree is a “corrupt and useless criminal justice system.” And I also agree with what Donna said. May we not give suggestions, from one comrade to another?

  54. Drew
    Drew February 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    HOWEVER, I would argue that it is erroneous to believe that the creation and maintenance of our corrupt and useless criminal justice system is primarily due to ruling-class transphobia. The police are here primarily to maintain the color line.

    I don’t see the value in trying to order the bigotry. What difference should it make if this case is primarily racism, or primarily transphobia, or primarily sexism?

  55. Drew
    Drew February 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Wait a second. That’s not how that’s supposed to look.

    Good job, Drew.

  56. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

    Joe, you keep addressing your comments to Jill specifically.

    The article was posted by “guest blogger.” The first paragraph of the post (in bold and italics, to catch your attention) begins with:

    This is a guest post by Redlark.

    Jill’s great, but this isn’t about her.

    QLH,

    Thanks. I lost focus on who was blogging what. Perhaps Redlark can answer my question.

    Redlark,

    I was going to write a longer response to this, but decided to hold off. Perhaps I’m confused and you’re not talking about the shooting itself, but something related to it? But if you are referring to the shooting, can you please enlighten me as to why this incident is an example of obvious discrimination? Do you have information on this that the general public does not?

  57. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    I was polite to you, Natilo, and certainly wasn’t attacking you. It seems to me that by your belligerent defensiveness, you’ve succeeded only in accomplishing exactly what you accused me of.

    Nothing I wrote “erases” any of that.

    In your list of relevant oppressions and -isms, you omitted transphobia. You haven’t claimed that the omission was inadvertent — and your subsequent comments imply otherwise. Sounds very much like an erasure to me.

    This incident occurred just blocks from where I work, and about a mile from where I live. I was one of the first people to contact other activists to alert them to this injustice. I attended the first support committee meeting, and the rally after her first court appearance, and have donated to CeCe’s defense and advocated for her online and in person.

    That’s great, and I mean that sincerely. (I don’t live anywhere near Minnesota, but have also donated to her defense, and advocated for her online in other venues, as well as personally. I apologize for not having read about the case recently enough to remember all the factual details correctly.)

    case hinges not only upon racism and misogyny, but also that specific aspect of sexual repression identified as transphobia.

    Given the general tenor of your comments, I have to conclude that this is some sort of code for a belief on your part that what all those trans people out there “identify” as transphobia is simply an aspect of something else; nothing unique; nothing worth mentioning specifically. You know better than trans people themselves, obviously. What with your 20 years in the radical scene and all. A “radical scene” that generally speaking is as supremely ignorant of trans issues as any other “scene” primarily comprised of cis people.

    HOWEVER, I would argue that it is erroneous to believe that the creation and maintenance of our corrupt and useless criminal justice system is primarily due to ruling-class transphobia.

    Who said it was? Not I? Don’t be absurd.

    The police are here primarily to maintain the color line. CeCe’s African-American identity, and the whitness of her attackers, is of critical importance to this case.

    So is her transness, especially if you focus on the case itself and CeCe herself, for her own sake, NOW.

    Please do not play Oppression Olympics with me. I’ve been in the radical scene for over twenty years, and I have long since grown sick of people using their membership in, or support for, a marginalized group to rhetorically attack those they disagree with

    What the fuck? That paragraph applies 100% to your rhetoric here, not mine. If simply asking you to mention transphobia and take it into account really constitutes a “rhetorical attack [on] those [I] disagree with,” well, all that does is confirm my initial impression that erasing/invisibilizing the importance of transphobia to this case (and in general) is exactly what you’re doing.

    And Ben, thanks to you and Piny for the supportive comments, and call me pretty much anything you like, but I’m nobody’s comrade! Even if I suspect that I first read the Communist Manifesto, along with some yellowing Leninist pamphlets that belonged to my mother, before Natilo was born.

  58. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    How many lengthy comments in this thread do I have to make before one of them gets out of moderation? Fuck.

  59. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    Opps!! Before I get spanked too much for my post @ 52, I’m only referring to this statement by Redlark not the whole story:

    including the family of Jaime Gonzalez, who was killed by the Texas police while he was at school.

  60. Donna L
    Donna L February 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Trying to re-post my response to Natilo without block quotes didn’t work either. Short summary: I wasn’t attacking you; erasing transphobia was exactly what you were doing; your subsequent comments only serve to prove it.

    And with that, I officially give up, because I *don’t* want to derail this thread.

    [previous comment released from moderation now ~ moderator]

  61. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    Anecdotal @ 32,

    Thanks for the info. I gathered it was more complicated than I understood.

  62. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    But unless you can tell me what you propose to replace the current system with that addresses all the problems with this one, I will stick with those slow but fine grinding wheels.

    Remarkable.

    I often wonder why change comes about so slowly. Then I meet people like this, and I understand.

  63. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim February 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

    This is a deeply offensive thing to say.

    piny & DonnaL:
    I’m not going to apologize for you taking offense. If people cannot manifest the simple human feeling to give a charitable reading to people who are not even disagreeing with them, I’m not going to be bothered. If you think it is more important to score “ally points” by trashing other radicals, instead of working together to advance radical discourse, you are not my comrades.

    The paragraph that I was attacked for (and isn’t it clever how you can attack someone and then blame them for being “defensive”?) was clearly and specifically addressed to the idea that the criminal justice system could “sort things out” and that we should withhold judgement until we get “all the facts of the case.” My point, which you have chosen to “erase,” was that this is not something that has happened in a vacuum or just recently. The foundations of this system are genocide and slavery. Currently, yes, the system works to oppress many other groups and individuals who were not originally its targets. That’s absolutely valid to bring up in an introduction to the question, or as a rebuttal to claims that some group is not oppressed by it. But no one was claiming that.

    You know what is “deeply offensive” to me? The fact that the radical scene is chock full of people who don’t do much actual work, and instead come to meetings or online forums solely to police the speech of other radicals. What does that accomplish? Jo Freeman wrote about the ‘tyranny of structurelessness’, this is more about the ‘tyranny of meanness’.

    Anyhow, I’ll bow out too. I had assumed, from what I’d seen elsewhere, that the general level of discourse was a bit higher on this site, but now I see that I was mistaken.

  64. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

    And Ben, thanks to you and Piny for the supportive comments, and call me pretty much anything you like, but I’m nobody’s comrade! Even if I suspect that I first read the Communist Manifesto, along with some yellowing Leninist pamphlets that belonged to my mother, before Natilo was born.

    OK. Sorry, comr–er, I mean–sorry, citizen. . .wait. . .I dunno. Sorry Donna.

  65. Jeanne
    Jeanne February 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Just ambelingalong…

    If you look at my comment #20 above you will see that I did present a more accurate and sourced from the Prosecutor’s office definition of “self-defense”

    I have done “fact checks” and for you to call me completely wrong… well “completely” is a really strong word. So lets have you explain your quote vs what I have posted on line over a week ago of Minnesota State Law. Here is your impressive looking but unsubstantiated documentation:

    That’s actually completely untrue. Please fact-check before posting.

    Under Minnesota law, self defense requires that

    a) You have a reasonable belief
    b) that you or someone else is in immediate danger
    c) from which you or the other person cannot escape
    d) and you respond with reasonable force.before posting.

    Here is the law sited correctly by the Prosecutors Office with my documentation from the state statutes:

    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.065&year=2011

    609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.

    The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section

    609.06,

    except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.
    History:
    1963 c 753 art 1 s 609.065;
    1978 c 736 s 1; 1986 c 444

    I am not going to call you completely anything, but to me there is a moment when the necessity to run has passed. When cut in the face to the need for 12 stitches and over a month recovery…. the right to “self-defense” is surely not deniable beyond a shadow of doubt.

    Again the Prosecutor’s letter to CeCe supporters:

    We evaluate cases according to the laws of Minnesota. We treat each defendant equally and examine the facts of each case to determine what charges, if any, are appropriate. We only charge cases that we feel confident we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt

    Is this to the point that a young woman with no criminal record and very little in financial resources needs to fund a 1/2 million dollar bond? Enough that a young woman should be thrown in “the hole” of solitary confinement, with the legally mentally ill inmates or in with the male population, awaiting her chance to confirm her “innocence till proven otherwise” for most of 8 months?

    The system is not equipped to deal with her anymore than if she required IC in a hospital. Why are they making this so intense? Really this is the way every person in this situation would be treated? Really… things are a lot different up in Minnesota, me thinks, if so.

    For the public to question this will at the most balance the system and make her chance of a fair trial and treatment more likely.

    Also follow these links:

  66. Natilo Paennim
    Natilo Paennim February 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm |

    [One final note: While I am a strong supporter of CeCe, I am not currently on her defense committee, and my opinions expressed above are wholly my own, and are in no way approved or endorsed by CeCe or her defense committee.]

  67. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

    Please do not play Oppression Olympics with me. I’ve been in the radical scene for over twenty years, and I have long since grown sick of people using their membership in, or support for, a marginalized group to rhetorically attack those they disagree with

    You do realize the sick irony of what you just wrote there, right?

    Anyways, what exactly are people advocating for here? I’m genuinely confused, because it seems to me like people are arguing for the immediate release of CeCe based only on her claim she killed someone else in self defense. If people are protesting excessive bail, or denial of access to medical treatment, or a broken probation system, and saying all these things are often tied to racism/homophobia/transphobia, I’m right there.

    But otherwise, no, I think that since the person who assaulted CeCe isn’t the person she killed, and- according to the article- it’s unclear whether the person she killed ever attacked her or not, and setting that aside it’s unclear whether killing Dean was reasonable force, and furthermore whether CeCe could not have retreated instead… given all this, it makes perfect sense to have a trial, where one side presents the evidence that CeCe acted reasonably, and one side presents any evidence she didn’t.

    When you kill someone, it needs to be a slightly bigger deal than “his friend attacked me, and he was a bigot, so let me go now.”

  68. Jeanne
    Jeanne February 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    I wouldn’t call you olympic level actually, despite being aggressive and argumentative as you just ramble along, you do eventually get it… yes

    it seems to me like people are arguing for the immediate release of CeCe based only on her claim she killed someone else in self defense.

    You might call it lobbying, you might recognize it as “a crime of passion”, or perhaps stopping a criminal in the act. I have discussed with the Prosecutor’s office another specific case where they did just exactly that in the last year. That is one of three often sited on CeCe support pages. Both parties had bullets, not blades but very similar and, yes….

    As the Prosecutor tells us in the public letter to Supporters of CeCe:

    In cases of self-defense, our office may decline to press charges if the facts of the case meet the standard defined by state law

    You are getting it… just relax. Nothing sick… nothing Completely wrong… you are suffering from extreme binary thinking is my guess.

    This it not that different then any other politics, we are petitioning our government, using our free speech to access liberty and justice as we see it. Frankly, I would not have the first concern about turning CeCe out on the street free as a bird. I would trust her in any situation… now you…. not so sure. :)

    I doubt that you have enough love in your soul to grasp the positivity of this woman’s spirt, but perhaps some others will read CeCe’s own words and be moved to sign the change.org petition, write to the Prosecutor or the StarTribune, send money or????

    http://www.prettyqueer.com/2012/02/06/pq-interview-with-cece-mcdonald/

    http://supportcece.wordpress.com/category/ceces-blog/

  69. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 11, 2012 at 12:36 am |

    I would trust her in any situation… now you…. not so sure. :)

    Fuck, do I hate the whole, “asshole sentence-smiley” thing.

    I doubt that you have enough love in your soul to grasp the positivity of this woman’s spirt,

    This just makes me think you’re an asshole. I read that kind of shit and think, “Wow, assholes abound, makes me miss the asexuality thread.” Then I don’t bother with the links.

  70. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 11, 2012 at 1:39 am |

    Justambling, pardon me if I remain skeptical that she would ever have been charged in the first place if she’d been a cis white person in the same position.

    Of course, if she’d been a cis white perceived-as-straight person, she would most likely never have been in the same position, because she and her friends wouldn’t have been assaulted in the first place, and she wouldn’t have felt it necessary to carry a pair of scissors for protection. (Anyone who thinks she wasn’t justified in doing so knows very little about the dangers she faced. I only wish Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata and hundreds of others had had a way of protecting themselves.)

    I also hope that people realize that being horribly mistreated in police custody is routine for trans women (and trans men) without congruent identification, whoever they are. And New York City is at least as bad as anyplace else, as what happened to Temmy Breslauer proves — she’s the transitioning trans woman who just brought a lawsuit; she was arrested for illegally using her father’s discount fare card on the subway, and then handcuffed to a railing with her arm raised over her head and left there for 28 hours, while the cops harassed her the whole time. Her “carry letter” from Callen-Lorde (just like the one I used to have) did her no good at all. This is an excerpt from the Jezebel article (which is OK but is accompanied by a truly offensive photo showing a foot in a high-heeled shoe, with a chain around the ankle), discussing her case and several others involving police mistreatment of trans people in NYC. The NYPD is notorious for this.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/05/temmie-breslauer-transgender-new-york-police_n_1255803.html

    After being laughed at and taken to the police station, she was asked by the receiving officer “whether she had a penis or a vagina.” According to Breslauer’s official complaint, she provided the officer with a document that explained she “is undergoing a gender change and that the process of changing one’s gender was both medically and legally complex.” The document requested Breslauer “be allowed safe passage including access to facilities that are appropriate to her gender identity.”

    The complaint alleges that instead of being taken to a holding cell for women or placed in another available room, she was fingerprinted, seated on a bench, and “then painfully chained to a fence wherein, for no apparent reason, her arm was lifted over her head and attached to the fence to make it appear that she was raising her hand in the classroom. She sat there in that position for 28 hours.”

    Breslauer’s complaint goes on to allege that during those 28 hours she was not allowed to use the restroom and the officers in the station referred to her as “he-she,” “faggot,” “Lady GaGa,” and “transvestite.” The officers also allegedly refused to refer to her by her preferred gender and called her “he,” “sir,” and “buddy.”

    She also claims that she was “deliberately placed six feet in front of the male holding tank, where men, six feet away acted as belligerently as the police officers. She was, at various intervals throughout the evening, taunted, propositioned and targeted with sundry projectiles, like crumpled paperballs and soda cans.”

    Something like this always was my worst nightmare before I had congruent ID.

  71. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 11, 2012 at 7:26 am |

    You might call it lobbying, you might recognize it as “a crime of passion”, or perhaps stopping a criminal in the act.

    First of all, ‘crime of passion’ was a defense in French law forty years ago for killing your wife’s lover (or your wife) when you caught them in the act. It has no legal meaning in US criminal courts, except that premeditated murder is typically treated even more seriously.

    You are getting it… just relax. Nothing sick… nothing Completely wrong… you are suffering from extreme binary thinking is my guess.

    Really, this speaks for itself. Instead of addressing anything in my post, you just called me untrustworthy, stupid, and unloving. That’s a tactic used by those without an argument to make.

    This it not that different then any other politics, we are petitioning our government, using our free speech to access liberty and justice as we see it.

    I’m not telling people to stop petitioning the DA, I’m expressing some confusion as to why they think the right thing to do here is release CeCe without trial. There’s a difference.

    Frankly, I would not have the first concern about turning CeCe out on the street free as a bird. I would trust her in any situation… now you…. not so sure. :)

    Again, ad hominem- the last refuge of the incoherent.

  72. piny
    piny February 11, 2012 at 8:12 am |

    Anyways, what exactly are people advocating for here? I’m genuinely confused, because it seems to me like people are arguing for the immediate release of CeCe based only on her claim she killed someone else in self defense. If people are protesting excessive bail, or denial of access to medical treatment, or a broken probation system, and saying all these things are often tied to racism/homophobia/transphobia, I’m right there.

    …Actually, they’re also protesting the fact that she confessed after spending several hours under arrest without any access to medical attention, despite the fact that her face was slashed in the attack. Her admissions are all suspicious, given the way the police behaved in the aftermath.

    Like people have said, letting her go is not a non-standard outcome in these cases. It seems like she’s being treated this way not because of what she may have done, but because of who she is. So it’s not shallow or unreasonable to petition for her release, or to argue that the charges should be dropped.

  73. Jeanne
    Jeanne February 11, 2012 at 9:42 am |

    My comment have been in kind… I am enjoying …but tiring of giving you your own medicine…. this back in forth with you two… is frankly a waste of time…. enjoy harassing others…. I am capable of as close to absolute logic as you in cases valuable, but you look back… you look at your posts. Ask yourself, did you personally attack persons with your comments… do you belittle people… I think so… getting under your skin and exposing your generalizations provided with an air of authority… that’s all I was/ am doing. Stick around or go find another fight… have a good day.

  74. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    @justamblingalong:

    But otherwise, no, I think that since the person who assaulted CeCe isn’t the person she killed, and- according to the article- it’s unclear whether the person she killed ever attacked her or not…

    The post at “Support Cece” says:

    There are varied accounts of what happened on June 5, but CeCe and the people she was with all agree on the following details. Around 12:30 am, CeCe was walking to the grocery store with some friends, all of them young, African American, and either queer or allied. As they passed a local bar, the Schooner Tavern, a group of older, white people who were standing outside the bar’s side door began hurling racist and transphobic slurs at them, without provocation. They called CeCe and her friends ‘faggots,’ ‘niggers,’ and ‘chicks with dicks,’ and suggested that CeCe was ‘dressed as a woman’ in order to ‘rape’ Dean Schmitz, one of the attackers. When CeCe approached the group and told them that her crew would not tolerate hate speech, one of the women said, “I’ll take you bitches on,” and then smashed her glass into CeCe’s face. She punctured CeCe’s cheek all the way through, lacerating her salivary gland. A fight ensued, during which one of the attackers, Dean Schmitz, was fatally stabbed.

    Emphasis mine.

    @librarygoose:

    This just makes me think you’re an asshole. I read that kind of shit and think, “Wow, assholes abound, makes me miss the asexuality thread.” Then I don’t bother with the links.

    Wow, really? So because of one jerk on the internet, you wouldn’t bother learning about an injustice being done and how you could help. Really?

  75. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 11, 2012 at 11:39 am |

    Actually, they’re also protesting the fact that she confessed after spending several hours under arrest without any access to medical attention, despite the fact that her face was slashed in the attack. Her admissions are all suspicious, given the way the police behaved in the aftermath.

    Right, and I said I completely support those protests. Did you read more than the first line of my post? I mean, the part you block-quoted directly addressed what you wrote. Weird.

    They called CeCe and her friends ‘faggots,’ ‘niggers,’ and ‘chicks with dicks,’ and suggested that CeCe was ‘dressed as a woman’ in order to ‘rape’ Dean Schmitz, one of the attackers.

    How shocking that she and her friends would say this, after killing him! Look, I don’t know one way or another. In fact, based on nothing but my gut instinct, it seems pretty likely she acted in self defense and shouldn’t be imprisoned. But I don’t know, you don’t know, and nobody else who wasn’t there knows, and so we have a trial to figure it out. She killed someone. It’s unclear whether he attacked her. If he attacked her, it’s unclear whether she could have escaped without killing him. If she couldn’t have escaped, it’s unclear whether killing him was reasonable force given her situation. And she needs to show all three things, because the law is that you don’t get to kill someone otherwise. And that makes sense.

    The criminal justice system frequently discriminates against people for reasons of race, gender identity, and wealth. This isn’t really an opinion, it’s a fact. But I’m going to wait to claim that her being tried for killing someone is a miscarriage of justice until I see actual evidence that that is what’s going on here, just like I’m not going to categorically deny this is a miscarriage of justice until I have a reason to believe it isn’t. We simply don’t know. All we know is that someone is dead, and it makes sense to investigate that.

  76. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

    It seems like a trial should be the standard operating procedure, and people should not be let go just based on their word that they were acting in self-defense. That would help prevent bias in favor of people unlike Cece, at least. Personally I have a problem with her being treated like crap, but I don’t have a problem with her being tried, pretty much for the reasons Justamblingalong listed above:

    She killed someone. It’s unclear whether he attacked her. If he attacked her, it’s unclear whether she could have escaped without killing him. If she couldn’t have escaped, it’s unclear whether killing him was reasonable force given her situation. And she needs to show all three things, because the law is that you don’t get to kill someone otherwise. And that makes sense.

    A standard where everyone was brought to trial, with no discretion, might be crueler but fairer. I don’t know.

  77. Jadey
    Jadey February 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    It seems like a trial should be the standard operating procedure, and people should not be let go just based on their word that they were acting in self-defense.

    In which case this standard should apply across the board, because the precedent has been set. I don’t think it is wrong to argue that Cece should receive the same justice as others in similar situations, although it may be argued that none of them ought to have been released without trial. But why does the buck stop with Cece? Why is it suddenly a step too far when it’s her life and freedom on the line? There’s your injustice.

    The system is deeply flawed to begin with and *somehow* it’s always certain people who bear the brunt of it.

  78. William
    William February 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    How shocking that she and her friends would say this, after killing him!

    Whats the alternative? I mean, really, what else are we to believe? That CeCe was part of some kind of roving gang of young, queer, African Americans out to kill them some cis honkys and just so happened to get lucky enough to target a guy with a swastika tattoo and a history of getting violent when he was drinking? Bashing isn’t a two way street. There is literally no way this story makes sense if Schmitz and his friends don’t start it with slurs. Otherwise CeCe and her friends would have moved on to their destination.

    But I don’t know, you don’t know, and nobody else who wasn’t there knows, and so we have a trial to figure it out.

    Not always. Just because theres a death doesn’t mean a criminal charge gets filed. Minnesota has been a concealed carry state for close to a decade. Every defensive use of a weapon doesn’t lead to a trial.

    Put another way, say a group of African Americans at a bar attacked a white woman, smashed a glass in her face, and in the ensuing fight an African American man was shot to death by her boyfriend who had a carry license. Do you think anyone would seriously be talking about a trial?

    Trials are expensive. Even if CeCe won it would be an expensive prospect. This idea of “we have a trial to find out the truth” is a vote for oppression in the context of a case that seems clearly one of self defense and in which the defendant is highly unlikely to get anything vaguely resembling a fair trial. What you’re saying is that the value of a trial outweighs bankrupting CeCe’s community and likely putting her in prison.

    Which, just so we’re all clear, often means death for trans folk.

    She killed someone. It’s unclear whether he attacked her.

    Only if you twist to avoid seeing what is in front of your face. Do you honestly mean to suggest that, while being attacked and already injured, CeCe drew a weapon and chose to murder a relatively uninvolved party rather than defend herself?

    If he attacked her, it’s unclear whether she could have escaped without killing him.

    Minnesota’s gun rights groups have been fighting a prolonged battle to pass a Stand Your Ground bill and avoid forcing people to make dangerous decisions like this. “Oh, fuck, I’m being attacked by homophobic Nazis…could I run away before the blood loss brings me down? Gosh…”

    If she couldn’t have escaped, it’s unclear whether killing him was reasonable force given her situation.

    Just to be clear, is it your position that if a white man with a swastika tattoo and a group of his friends call a trans woman a faggot and then attack her that it would be possible for her use of deadly force to be anything other than reasonable in defending herself? How badly injured must she be? How outnumbered? How deep a wound in her face before she can respond?

    And she needs to show all three things, because the law is that you don’t get to kill someone otherwise. And that makes sense.

    No, it doesn’t. This is as clear a case as any of why the law doesn’t make sense. Why? Because these things CeCe would need to show are subjective and someone like her simply isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt that I would.

    The criminal justice system frequently discriminates against people for reasons of race, gender identity, and wealth. This isn’t really an opinion, it’s a fact. But I’m going to wait to claim that her being tried for killing someone is a miscarriage of justice until I see actual evidence that that is what’s going on here,

    Your privilege is showing. You might want to get that checked out.

    All we know is that someone is dead, and it makes sense to investigate that.

    Care to explain why an arrest needs to be made, a charge filed, and a woman imprisoned prior to the investigation? Or is that secondary to the interests of making sure this trans woman was absolutely, rationally, objectively endangered enough by a slur spouting neo nazi to have deserved to defend herself against him?

  79. William
    William February 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    The system is deeply flawed to begin with and *somehow* it’s always certain people who bear the brunt of it.

    I’m sure thats purely accidental, Jadey. After all, the police are here to help us, right?

  80. Jadey
    Jadey February 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    I’m sure thats purely accidental, Jadey. After all, the police are here to help us, right?

    Well that’s what they tell me, and I’m white, cis, and middle-class! So I’m sure my experience is perfectly representative.

    (Ack – I also just realized that I forgot to blockquote the first paragraph of my previous comment. That was from Bagelsan’s comment above mine.)

  81. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

    Of course the buck shouldn’t oh-so-coincidentally stop with CeCe; they should look at this case, say “okay, CeCe, you’re getting grandfathered into the previous dumbass way of doing it but everyone from now on is going to trial” and then move on with a perhaps slightly less bigoted version of things.

    And then everyone gets a pony. :D

  82. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

    But why does the buck stop with Cece? Why is it suddenly a step too far when it’s her life and freedom on the line? There’s your injustice.

    I agree with everything you wrote. Other, more privileged people might have been simply released, but that is where I see the problem, not the fact that Cece is being tried.

  83. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    OK Justamblingalong. I’ll bite. I can only speak for myself, but I can tell you why I personally want CeCe to be released from custody immediately. First of all, I don’t trust the system to respect her basic human rights while she’s in custody. She’s already been denied medical care; she’s been kept in solitary confinement (which is a form of torture, as far as I’m concerned); and she’s been abused in other ways. I’m interested in minimizing the amount of abuse that happens in the world. If CeCe remains in custody, it’s highly likely she will continue to be abused. If CeCe is released, I find it highly doubtful that she will seriously abuse anyone on the outside, given everything I’ve read about her and her character, as well as the prosecution’s flimsy case for the “murder” she committed.

    Secondly, I don’t trust a racist, transphobic criminal “justice” system to impartially investigate and adjudicate this case. In my opinion, this system lacks basic legitimacy. It has already fucked up a thousand times over, in this case and many others like it. . .think of the disparate incarceration statistics. As Redlark noted:

    Trans people are ten to fifteen times more likely to have been incarcerated than cis people. Nearly half of all African-American trans people have spent time in the prison system.

    This is appalling. And this is not the result of trans people and African-American trans people being more “dangerous” or some such bullshit. This is a result of a deeply dysfuctional system and its institutionalized prejudice. This system has given no evidence that it can be fair in its determination of the proper fate of an African-American trans woman. Therefore, given this and, again, given the flimsy case of the prosecution (the type of case that in three seperate instances was deemed unprosecutable last year), it’s in the best interests of society that this system doesn’t have authority over CeCe’s fate in this case.

    Finally, my most important reasons for wanting CeCe to be released are not logical: they are emotional. I support POC and trans people (particularly trans people, for various individual personal reasons) in their fight against an oppressive system. I am against the prison-industrial complex. I believe in solidarity. I will stand with my allies and against those I oppose. Every time. And I’ll be proud to do it.

    CeCe should be released immediately.

  84. piny
    piny February 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    Actually, no, she doesn’t need to prove she killed him for the right reasons. The prosecutor needs to prove that she killed him. This was a brawl; that’s the circumstance this case shares with the other cases where charges were dropped. It’s very difficult to say what happened and how, because it wasn’t a him but a them. We do know that Cece had a bottle smashed into her face first, which may make it difficult for her to remember what happened immediately afterward. .

    You didn’t address those protests in context. You listed the coerced confession as a good reason to go ahead and try the case, not something that seems at best to be highly suspicious. It’s misleading to mention the confession without mentioning the circumstances under which it was extracted from her.

    And no, I don’t agree. This is a bigoted point of view. If a city lets wealthy white parents use fake addresses to enroll their kids in better schools, but then brings a poor black parent up on fraud charges for doing the same thing, the problem isn’t that the rich white people skate. The problem is that the law is enforced in a racist, classist way. If the prosecutor thinks it’s just to drop charges in these cases unless they people involved are black trans women, then the problem isn’t the laxity of the law but its racism.

  85. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

    Wow, really? So because of one jerk on the internet, you wouldn’t bother learning about an injustice being done and how you could help. Really?

    Actually, I looked into it myself. I didn’t read the links provided in that comment. I have no desire to bother with condescending assholes. I can, however, read this article and other links and realize this shit is fucked up. This entire clusterfuck of racism and transphobia is ridiculous.

    I remain skeptical that she would ever have been charged in the first place if she’d been a cis white person in the same position.

    Donna L’s comment pretty much sums up my feelings on this shit.

  86. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm |

    Actually, no, she doesn’t need to prove she killed him for the right reasons. The prosecutor needs to prove that she killed him.

    Educate yourself, please.

    This was a brawl; that’s the circumstance this case shares with the other cases where charges were dropped. It’s very difficult to say what happened and how, because it wasn’t a him but a them.

    Yeah, that’s not how the law works, either. You don’t get to kill someone because their friend assaults you. The standard is really simple:

    a) Reasonable belief that you or another is in danger
    b) You have reason to believe you cannot escape (this isn’t true in all states, but it is in Minnesota)
    c) You respond with reasonable force, directed at the person threatening you.

    Really, really simple.

    We do know that Cece had a bottle smashed into her face first, which may make it difficult for her to remember what happened immediately afterward.

    Good thing there are witnesses, then.

    You didn’t address those protests in context. You listed the coerced confession as a good reason to go ahead and try the case, not something that seems at best to be highly suspicious. It’s misleading to mention the confession without mentioning the circumstances under which it was extracted from her.

    I said nothing about the coerced confession, except to deplore the way it was extracted. You don’t read very carefully, do you?

    And no, I don’t agree. This is a bigoted point of view. If a city lets wealthy white parents use fake addresses to enroll their kids in better schools, but then brings a poor black parent up on fraud charges for doing the same thing, the problem isn’t that the rich white people skate.

    Actually, no, the problem is exactly that; the the wealthy white people in your example are getting a free pass because of their privilege. That’s what privilege

    means

    ; racism (or more generally bigotry) isn’t just about oppression, but also about the unearned benefits that accrue to the non-oppressed. The answer is to hold everyone accountable for the fraud, not nobody.

    The problem is that the law is enforced in a racist, classist way. If the prosecutor thinks it’s just to drop charges in these cases unless they people involved are black trans women, then the problem isn’t the laxity of the law but its racism.

    Well, no, it could very well be both. Equality is one of multiple coequal values, including liberty, justice, and safety. A world in which all people go free after committing crimes because that way, nobody is treated differently, might be better along one axis- equality- but worse along multiple other axis’, like justice and safety.

    Consider; a black man who rapes a woman is significantly more likely to be convicted and imprisoned than a white man who rapes a woman. The problem here is not that the black man is getting convicted, it’s that the white man is avoiding responsibility for his crime because of his privilege. Your argument, if taken at face value, would suggest we let this hypothetical black man go because other people with more privilege are more likely to escape justice.

    Finally, my most important reasons for wanting CeCe to be released are not logical: they are emotional.

    That’s your right, but given that statement, I’m not going to engage with you on this topic any more; I mean no disrespect, but I’m not going to change your emotions, and your emotions aren’t going to persuade me.

  87. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 12, 2012 at 2:27 am |

    Natilo. . .there is no problem with the level of discourse on this website. The people who come to this website do not come here to police the speech of other radicals. You are making a lot of assumptions about the people here and their lives merely based off the fact that they criticized you–for instance, assuming people here don’t do much offline activism. I happen to know some of the people who criticized you do quite a bit of offline activism.

    I’m honestly a little confused about your latest response. Perhaps you didn’t expect people to react the way they did when you started talking about the “Oppression Olympics” and “rhetorical attacks.” But in my opinion, those are fighting words. And they are also evidence of you not reading Donna’s initial feedback charitably, which you didn’t need to view as a personal attack (it didn’t look like one to me, at least). If you start reading others uncharitably then they will often read you uncharitably; you probably understand this.

    Look, I know you have been doing a lot for CeCe’s cause. You have certainly been doing more than me. You should rightly be proud of the hard work you’ve done. And you probably think it’s presumptious of people who might not have done as much as you to criticize you for things you’ve said. I happen to think, though, that a vigorous willingness to honestly critique others politics and speech (and a openness to such critique) is an important part of radical transformation. Maybe you agree with that. Well, in any event, this is how we do it here. And I happen to think it works pretty well even if you don’t.

  88. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 12, 2012 at 3:11 am |

    Natilo, I’m not nearly as nice a person as Lotus Ben. As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothing but a condescending, self-righteous prick who’s decided that homophobia, transphobia (and, I suspect, misogyny too) are just accidental by-products of what *you’ve* pronounced are the most important factors underlying both the initial attack on CeCe and the treatment of her by the criminal justice system. You’re so full of yourself, and so arrogant, and so blinded by cis privilege, that you just can’t see the crucial role that transphobia plays in *all* of this, and are incapable of grasping the erasure you engaged in. (The fact that you think that my very act of asking you to broaden your rhetoric was itself somehow an “erasure” of the things you did say simply proves my point.)

    People like you are *exactly* the reason I’m *not* a radical (certainly not your kind of radical, that’s for sure) and passionately despise radical politics. (And I do plenty of off-line LGBT activism, by the way. Because it’s my life, and my son’s life, and other real people’s lives, not an abstract cause or a historical argument to me.) I don’t think people like you belong anywhere near a case like this, and I’m very thankful you’re not on Ms. McDonald’s defense committee. A wise choice by whoever made it.

  89. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    Apologies for the duplicative posts. I didn’t literally mean that what I had to say to Natilo goes double; I was trying to see if I might escape the moderation queue by omitting the cursing in the last line. No such luck. In any event, could a moderator please delete the first one? I have morning-after embarrassment about using that kind of language. Not that I didn’t mean it.

  90. William
    William February 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    Actually, no, the problem is exactly that; the the wealthy white people in your example are getting a free pass because of their privilege. That’s what privilege…The answer is to hold everyone accountable for the fraud, not nobody.

    Perhaps in a perfect world.

    Heres your problem: you argue for everyone to be held to the standard that CeCe is being held to, yet we know that only oppressed persons will be held to that standard, by arguing for that standard to remain the final effect is that you are arguing for the continuation of oppression because we know that everyone will not be held to that standard.

    From another angle: I don’t really like the idea of the government being involved in marriage and I bristle at the idea of a marriage license; the debate about gay marriage really ought to be a moot point because the government shouldn’t have that power. Thats a pipe dream, though. So, given a broken system, the right solution is to give everyone equal access to it’s brokenness. Its ugly, but its the best we have.

  91. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    Heres your problem: you argue for everyone to be held to the standard that CeCe is being held to, yet we know that only oppressed persons will be held to that standard, by arguing for that standard to remain the final effect is that you are arguing for the continuation of oppression because we know that everyone will not be held to that standard.

    Yeah, that’s really silly. First of all, you’re empirically wrong; vast numbers of non-oppressed people are tried for killings which they claim are self defense. In reality, the number of people who are immediately released after killing someone is a tiny, tiny, percentage, so if Cece was released, she’d be the exception to the rule. Second of all, the only alternative is to just give people who have identities that are oppressed an immediate out, and since nearly everyone has as least some oppressed identities (there are not that many white male heterosexual cis-sexual able-bodied wealthy middle-aged Christians in the country) that just means not having laws to enforce, period.

    From another angle: I don’t really like the idea of the government being involved in marriage and I bristle at the idea of a marriage license; the debate about gay marriage really ought to be a moot point because the government shouldn’t have that power. Thats a pipe dream, though. So, given a broken system, the right solution is to give everyone equal access to it’s brokenness. Its ugly, but its the best we have.

    True, the government shouldn’t be in the business of regulating marriage at all, but unless you think the government shouldn’t be in the business of regulating crime at all, then your analogy kind of falls apart.

  92. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

    Here’s an analogy that fits better. In this case, non-oppressed people have an easier time than oppressed people killing people, claiming self defense, and then being released without a trial (though basically nobody gets away with killing someone, getting arrested and not having a trial); similarly white people have an easier time than black people getting a loan for a house.

    You argue that this means we should let all oppressed people who kill someone and claim self-defense out of jail without a trial (or perhaps just the ones who were attacked by someone before the killing); ergo, we should completely stop giving out all mortgages to white people, because that’s the only way we’ll have equality.

  93. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    Donna, I rather liked your response to Natilo better. I’m working on becoming less nice, but it’s a long, hard process. I mean, it’s important to see others’ point of view, but on the other hand, if they are basically an asshole (like Natilo), and their point of view is “you suck,” then it’s probably better for one’s mental health and self-respect to be able to block that point of view out. I too readily take other people’s negative judgments of me to heart. Or, in instances like this, I feel torn between someone whom I identify with because we have some political similarities (Natilo) and someone whom is making some legitimate points and I consider, um, I don’t know, an internet friend? (you), and I just want people to “get along.” But that’s a bit unrealistic and silly of me.

    Anyway, I hope my kid gloves treatment of Natilo didn’t cause me to lose any “ally points.” Since that’s apparently what we care about here on the internet.

  94. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    Anyway, I hope my kid gloves treatment of Natilo didn’t cause me to lose any “ally points.” Since that’s apparently what we care about here on the internet.

    Setting aside our disagreements for a second, I really want to second your last sentence (assuming they were meant sarcastically). I really hate the game of trying to accumulate ally-cred; it feels like it only gets done when people are trying to avoid responsibility for doing something else. It’s like a slightly less insipid version of “some of my best friends are black!”

  95. piny
    piny February 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    Should I bring up vagrancy laws, maybe, to imply that your insistence that the case go to trial is tantamount to giving the Klan free run of the South?

    I’m not saying that impunity is permissible across the board, or that it’s a good idea because white wealthy people enjoy it in so many cases.

    In this specific situation, charges are usually dropped because it’s almost impossible to figure out what happened. The trial is pointless. The jury can’t evaluate evidence that isn’t there.

    There are still laws against murder and assault, and qualified protections for people acting in self-defense, and prosecutors uphold them. It’s just that in scenarios like this, they can’t do that. And that basic idea, that prosecutors shouldn’t go to trial without a strong case, is standard; it’s not about white privilege but about due process.

    In other words, CeCe isn’t being held because the DA thinks this will make a good case. She’s being held because the law is being used only to brutalize a black trans woman. She’s not awaiting trial. She’s currently serving her extrajudicial sentence.

  96. William
    William February 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

    Yeah, that’s really silly.

    Calling an argument silly up front tends to suggest that you’re not confident enough in your response to argue on the merits and are instead attempting to disparage.

    First of all, you’re empirically wrong; vast numbers of non-oppressed people are tried for killings which they claim are self defense.

    Yes, but not every killing claimed in self defense is equal. Here we have someone being charged who was already harassed and seriously injured before a brawl in which someone ended up dead. Or are you suggesting that, perhaps, having had a glass smashed in your face isn’t a serious enough threat to warrant deadly force? Maybe CeCe just didn’t like the look of Schmitz and decided to kill him during a fight and call it self defense while ignoring other attackers? Perhaps the smashed glass was self defense and CeCe was the aggressor but, again, you’ve got a big problem in the “why?” question with that idea.

    Really, what theory of the events here could possibly support what we’re seeing?

    Second of all, the only alternative is to just give people who have identities that are oppressed an immediate out, and since nearly everyone has as least some oppressed identities (there are not that many white male heterosexual cis-sexual able-bodied wealthy middle-aged Christians in the country) that just means not having laws to enforce, period.

    Well, context could be used. For instance, if someone who was drunk, known to engage in racially motivated violence when he was drinking, and has a swastika tattoo on his body is involved in an altercation with someone who is African American and trans one might step back and not immediately file charges. That might be especially true if, again…just a wild theory here…the African American trans person was severely injured during the conflict and claimed self defense. Anyone can say “he threatened to kick my ass so I shot him” but lying in a pool of your own blood with glass in your face when the police arrive is kind of difficult to fake.

    Or, you know, we could dispense with this entire charade of giving the justice system the benefit of the doubt because there are already clear indications of what is very likely racially or gender motivated misbehavior on the part of the state. Witholding medical care is a good indicator that someone isn’t trustworthy. The fact that only one person was arrested is another indication that the police had already made up their minds about what happened before an investigation. A coerced confession adds to the heaping pile of clues that something isn’t right here. A prosecutor with a history of dropping charges in self defense cases but pressing on here raises questions. Evidence of systematic abuse of power further leads us to consider that maybe, just maybe, we aren’t seeing justice here. One could look at a system designed to reduce access to communication for poorer (a good indicator of disenfranchisement) prisoners as a means of stacking the deck. A prison population that is not representative of the general community make up would underscore that suspicion.

    But lets be serious here. We’re not having a discussion, are we? You’re twisting, desperately trying to find a way to balm your cognitive dissonance when you see a system which serves you well brutally oppressing someone else. You’re trying to explain away the disparity between your lived experience and CeCe’s. You’re trying to hide behind the cold comfort of a uniform justice system, and you’re obviously not going to be looking for things which shatter that desperate illusion. When challenged you misrepresent, you call opposing views silly, you ignore difficult questions.

    I see you. I’d wager money that I’m not the only one.

  97. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

    Should I bring up vagrancy laws, maybe, to imply that your insistence that the case go to trial is tantamount to giving the Klan free run of the South?

    Sure, if you want to make a offensive, irrelevant, racist argument, go right ahead. If you do, I’ll be happy to explain why it’s such a pathetically weak, bigoted argument.

    It’s just that in scenarios like this, they can’t do that.

    There are witnesses, and presumably various forms of other evidence. What about this case is so unique and special that it can’t be tried?

    And that basic idea, that prosecutors shouldn’t go to trial without a strong case, is standard; it’s not about white privilege but about due process.

    That, and prosecutors like keeping their win percentage high. What’s really amazing about your post is that you’re using your conclusion as a premise for your argument:

    1) There is no evidence CeCe might not have met the legal requirements of self defense
    2) Therefore, the decision to try her is a purely bigoted one
    3) Therefore, there must not be any evidence her actions didn’t meet the legal standard of self defense.

    On a fundamental level, the appropriate response to a killing is an investigation. From the article above and writings by CeCe’s friends online, who it should be noted have no incentive to hide facts favorable to CeCe, it is unclear whether the man she killed attacked her, it is unclear whether killing him was reasonable given the threat he posed, and it is unclear if she could have retreated instead of killing him. If these things are clear to the prosecutors, then they have a responsibility to drop the case, but if those facts aren’t known to them either- or they have a reason to believe the answer to any of those questions is no- then they have a strong case to try, because it is clear that she killed someone.

    In this specific situation, charges are usually dropped because it’s almost impossible to figure out what happened. The trial is pointless. The jury can’t evaluate evidence that isn’t there.

    You have affirmative defenses backwards. If I killed someone and am tried, the goverment must prove I committed the killing, but if I claim self-defense I must prove it. If there is evidence the killing took place and no evidence regarding the self defense, then I can legally be convicted. Armchair lawyers…

  98. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    because it is clear that she killed someone.

    Because of a confession she gave under duress?

  99. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    Because of a confession she gave under duress?

    This is what her lawyer (again, someone with no reason to omit facts helpful to CeCe’s defense) says happened:

    http://supportcece.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/mcdonald-rasmussen-mot.pdf

    In other words, he is claiming that CeCe couldn’t have voluntarily waived her Miranda rights because of her physical pain, anxiety, and medication,” and therefore her confession shouldn’t be entered into the record. By contrast, the prosecutors are arguing “that McDonald voluntarily gave up her constitutional right to an attorney, and there was no evidence of coercive activity on the part of the police” The judge may find either argument persuasive, but no prosecutor in the world is going to (and shouldn’t) just say “Oh, she confessed to killing someone, but wants the confession suppressed- we should definitely not press charges, then!”

    Look, there are two different argument we could be having here. One is whether, if we were a judge or on the jury, we would believe the prosecutors or the defense. If that’s what we’re talking about, I agree with you- CeCe probably didn’t do anything wrong. The other argument we could be having is whether the prosecutors are doing something wrong even pursuing the case, and if that’s what we’re talking about, then no, they’re really not.

    By the way, it’s interesting to note that according to CeCe’s lawyer, Redlark (the author) lied or at least mislead several times, most notably by claiming that when CeCe was arrested she was taken to jail and denied medical treatment, when in reality she was immediately taken to a hospital and treated.

  100. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

    Or are you suggesting that, perhaps, having had a glass smashed in your face isn’t a serious enough threat to warrant deadly force?

    Yes, if the person who smashed the glass into your face isn’t the person you kill, I am.

    Really, what theory of the events here could possibly support what we’re seeing?

    Completely hypothetically? One of Dean’s friends slashes CeCe’s face. A brawl between CeCe and her friends, and Dean and his friends, ensures. Dean throws a couple punches, and CeCe stabs him to death.

    Anyone can say “he threatened to kick my ass so I shot him” but lying in a pool of your own blood with glass in your face when the police arrive is kind of difficult to fake.

    Well, I’ve tried to make this really clear, but perhaps I need to put it in big block letters for you. Here:

    1. Dean
    2. Wasn’t
    3. The
    4. Person
    5. Who
    6. Stabbed
    7. CeCe

    But lets be serious here. We’re not having a discussion, are we? You’re twisting, desperately trying to find a way to balm your cognitive dissonance when you see a system which serves you well brutally oppressing someone else.

    This would be a good time to shut the fuck up, based on me not being white. Asshole.

  101. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    When challenged you misrepresent

    For example?

    you call opposing views silly,

    Your argument was silly, and uninformed, but I went on to explain why, instead of just leaving it at that.

    you ignore difficult questions.

    Well, right now I’m typing three posts in a row to try to address the various arguments people have made, but if you think there’s a killer point in there I missed, let me know what it is and I’ll address it.

  102. piny
    piny February 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

    This is bullshit. And the comment about how, gee, you must not understand what self-defense is, or the difference between proving you killed someone in self-defense and defending yourself against murder charges? Patronizing bullshit.

    1) There is no evidence CeCe might not have met the legal requirements of self defense
    2) Therefore, the decision to try her is a purely bigoted one
    3) Therefore, there must not be any evidence her actions didn’t meet the legal standard of self defense.

    That’s not what I’m arguing at all.

    It’s like this:

    1) There doesn’t seem to be very much evidence against her, or much clear information on what the hell happened, or Dean Schmidt wound up stabbed to death, or whether Dean Schmidt did or did not attack anyone.
    2) In arguably similar cases, charges against the defendant were dropped, for pragmatic reasons.
    3) Given the way this woman has been treated throughout, bigotry is almost certainly playing a role in all of this, and could very well be playing a role in the decision to press charges.

    I’m not saying that 3) proves that there isn’t much evidence; I’m saying that there simply doesn’t seem to be much evidence. I’m saying that nobody seems to have provided an account of what happened during the actual fight. And I don’t think it’s clear that she’s claiming self-defense. She confessed, under torturous circumstances, but then recanted. Basically, I think there’s a lot of ambiguity in all of this.

    I can read, I’m not an idiot, I know what due process and the rule of law are, and you’re being an asshole.

  103. William
    William February 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm |

    Yes, if the person who smashed the glass into your face isn’t the person you kill, I am.

    I really think your lack of life experience is getting in the way here.

    Have you ever been in a serious brawl? I have. Once the first punch is thrown and you’ve got seven or eight people in the mix you’re not targeting who hit you first or even who hit you most recently, you’re swinging at anything that looks threatening and isn’t a friend because your concern is getting the hell out of the situation alive and intact. Once the fight starts its not about a reasoned determination of who started it but about staying on your feet so you don’t get kicked to death. I know this and I’m a cis white guy who looks pretty scary and is almost always bigger than most of the other people in the room, I simply cannot imagine how much more terrifying and desperate it would be to be an African American transwoman staring down white supremacists who had just broken a glass in my face. I mean, jesus christ, even when I’ve been attacked by people both smaller and less socially privileged the panic of actually being assaulted has been incredible.

    Dean throws a couple punches, and CeCe stabs him to death.

    So, just to be clear, you’re suggesting that deadly force wouldn’t be warranted if CeCe, after being stabbed in the face, used a knife to defend herself against what was likely a larger attacker who was assaulting her without provocation but was himself unarmed?

    Thats a…staggering worldview. Not only does it put what I feel is absolutely undue responsibility on the part of assault victims when it comes to self defense, but it shows an utter ignorance of the actual risks of “a couple of punches” in a barfight. People die from fist fights, from head injuries suffered when they fall to the cement, from being stomped. Even if they don’t die the medical bills, physical injury, and emotional trauma can be ruinous.

    Well, I’ve tried to make this really clear, but perhaps I need to put it in big block letters for you. Here:

    1. Dean
    2. Wasn’t
    3. The
    4. Person
    5. Who
    6. Stabbed
    7. CeCe

    Cute, but those aren’t big block letter. More to the point, it doesn’t matter who stabbed CeCe. He was part of the group attacking her, it was a brawl, she was panicked and injured. Unless Schmitz was uninvolved CeCe really ought to be in the clear.

    This would be a good time to shut the fuck up, based on me not being white. Asshole.

    Sticks and stones aside, I stand by what I said. But, by all means, puff up and play the internet tough guy. We’re all very impressed by the size and color of your e-peen. Sorry I confused you for being white just because you were playing apologist. I still think its damned suspicious that you seem to be bending over backwards to defend police and prosecutors here.

  104. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    Have you ever been in a serious brawl? I have.

    Yes.

    Once the first punch is thrown and you’ve got seven or eight people in the mix you’re not targeting who hit you first or even who hit you most recently, you’re swinging at anything that looks threatening and isn’t a friend because your concern is getting the hell out of the situation alive and intact.

    Yeah, but that’s not how the law is written. If you think it’s a bad thing that’s not how the law is written, then argue that, but the prosecutors job is not to say “oh, we shouldn’t have this law.” It’s like we’re having two different conversation here.

    Thats a…staggering worldview. Not only does it put what I feel is absolutely undue responsibility on the part of assault victims when it comes to self defense, but it shows an utter ignorance of the actual risks of “a couple of punches” in a barfight.

    Christ. Let’s break out the numbering system again.

    1. I am not in charge of writing the law
    2. Neither are the prosecutors
    3. Therefore, the question of whether the law puts undue responsibility on the victims of an assault is beyond both our reaches
    4. The fact is that the law is very clear on what constitutes self defense, and if you kill someone in a way which doesn’t meet specific criteria, then you can’t prove that affirmative defense.

    People die from fist fights, from head injuries suffered when they fall to the cement, from being stomped. Even if they don’t die the medical bills, physical injury, and emotional trauma can be ruinous.

    Go to the legislature with your policy proposal, then. Seriously, I don’t even disagree with you.

    Sticks and stones aside, I stand by what I said. But, by all means, puff up and play the internet tough guy. We’re all very impressed by the size and color of your e-peen.

    Ah, yes, surely I am a fake POC, because I haven’t bent over backwards assuring you that your views are allyfull enough. Next time tell me you’re white right off the bat, and I’ll make sure not to argue too much with you.

    Sorry I confused you for being white just because you were playing apologist. I still think its damned suspicious that you seem to be bending over backwards to defend police and prosecutors here.

    You’re confusing ‘apologist’ with ‘has a law degree and knows what they’re talking about.’

  105. Sergey
    Sergey February 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |

    William, your opinions are not in alignment with what the law says. You are certainly entitled to them, and welcome to suggest that the law is wrong, but the prosecutor is acting pretty reasonably considering he DOES have to worry about what the law says.

    There are technically two questions here, #1 being, was Cece the one who stabbed Dean and #2 was it self defense.

    I’m operating under the assumption that the answer to #1 is yes. Yes, her confession was given under duress – but it wasn’t a simple “I killed him.” Her ‘confession’ was that “he ran into my scissors.” So, even under duress, she didn’t admit guilt, she only admitted that her scissors were the murder weapon. And she probably only said that because, evidence wise, it would be pretty easy to prove anyway.

    Of course a defense attorney would have her recant immediately because there’s no reason to do the prosecution’s work for them – it would be easy enough to establish that scissors caused Dean’s wound, but as the defender you would hope that the prosecution might have difficulty establishing that the scissors were HERS.

    But, believe what you want – I’m more interested in question #2, and I think a trial here is not inappropriate under the facts.

    Ambling has done a pretty good job explaining the statutory requirements for self-defense. But the Minnesota Supreme Court has held that self-defense is unavailable to her if a jury determines she had a significant role in instigating the fight. If it appears she began an argument with them to provoke one of them into throwing a punch so that she, in turn, could claim self-defense for any injuries she caused, the law says self-defense is unavailable. [From State v. Thompson, 1986]

    So, is that scenario possible? Let’s look at the pieces – she goes over there, a fight breaks out, someone slashes her face and she stabs and kills someone else. Other commenters have already noted that she carried these scissors for self-defence.

    If there was any indication that Dean and his friends were going to become violent – any serious threats of violence – and her thought process was “I’ll be fine, I have my scissors,” and KEPT arguing with them, Minnesota law will probably not allow her to claim self-defense.

    So, there are legitimate questions to be asked about what was said in the argument leading up to the fight. Who threw the first punch isn’t the only factor.

    Furthmore, even if a jury finds that she bears no responsibility for instigating the fight, her injury doesnt automatically justify her actions.

    I’m echoing Ambling here, but it’s not enough for her to reasonably believe her actions were necessary for preventing bodily harm – it has to be GREAT bodily harm. From the sound of it, her cheek being slashed was the worst injury her or her friends received. [If not, that's certainly something that would be relevant at trial.]

    If that’s the case, she very well might not be justified in killing Dean, who wasn’t the one who slashed her anyway. If Dean was just using his fists, and she stabbed him, a jury might decide that was a disproportionate response. The threat of bodily injury usually justifies resisting with force. But resisting with DEADLY force requires a heightened threat of GREAT bodily harm FROM DEAN.

    It seems clear to me that there are enough questions that need to be answered to warrant a trial.

    This is not a clear-cut case of self-defense.

  106. demand justice for cece mcdonald: attorney should drop all charges immediately! « leftytgirl

    [...] already survived numerous hardships in her life. Hence when a 47 year-old white man, Dean Schmitz (who was later found to have a swastika tattoo on his body), and two other white bar patroms began hurling racist and transphobic insults at their group, CeCe [...]

  107. Sergey
    Sergey February 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

    Apologies, I cited wrong – State v. Thompson states the general principle that a person must be innocent of provocation in order to claim self-defense.
    State v. Love is the case that fleshes out that principle to indicate what I said.

  108. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    Justamblingalong, you may have a law degree, but you’re neither a prosecutor nor a criminal defense attorney, right? Neither am I, but some of my best friends, etc. And you have heard of prosecutorial discretion, right? Do you have any proof whatsoever for your assertion that most alleged self-defense cases get prosecuted? Even if they do get prosecuted, what about the fact that the prosecutor’s charge decision — here, second-degree murder — plays an enormous role in the ultimate outcome of the case?

    Have you ever actually studied the racial aspects of prosecutorial discretion? Have you read Angela Davis’s 1998 article in the Fordham Law Review entitled Prosecution and Race: The Power and Privilege of Discretion? (I’d post the link, but it’s about a mile long, and the article is easy enough to find.) And that’s wholly apart from the homophobic/transphobic aspects of the criminal justice system, which, as I pointed out above, are pervasive everywhere one looks.

    Just answer this question, please: do you seriously believe that if the circumstances had otherwise been similar and CeCe had been a middle-aged, well-dressed, white cis lady who happened to have a pair of scissors in her purse, and had been assaulted by a bunch of Nazi thugs — OK, let’s make her Jewish, maybe a 2G — she would have been immediately arrested, and then charged with second-degree murder? If your answer is yes, and you really think the fact that she’s a trans woman of color who’s visibly trans has nothing whatsoever to do with what happened, then please say hello to the tooth fairy for me the next time you see her. And give us all a break.

    You also seem to be completely ignoring the fact that even though it is absolutely the case that self-defense is the defendant’s burden to prove, the prosecution still has to prove the necessary intent to kill to justify a murder charge, before the burden ever shifts to the defense in the first place. In other words, they have to prove not only that she killed the guy, but that she intended to kill him (or somebody) — as opposed to just trying to fend people off — and that it wasn’t an accident. Until they do, Ms. McDonald has to prove nothing. And the very fact that she was in a melee instigated by others — regardless of your intimations that she and her friends made the whole attack up, it’s absolutely ludicrous (and demonstrative of your own privilege) to think someone in her extremely vulnerable situation would start something like that — mitigates *against* the prosecution’s ability to prove intent.

    Also, how likely is it that she’s going to get a fair trial? What are the chances that there’s going to be *anyone* on the jury, regardless of color, who’s ever even met a trans person before (that they know of), let alone knows anything about them? If you think she is likely to get a fair trial, tooth fairy again.

    Finally, way to assume bad faith on Redlark’s part. Lying? Every single article makes clear that yes, she was taken immediately to the hospital and stitched up and given some medication — but that then she was taken to jail where she was left without further medical care for many hours before they even started questioning her.

    You know, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re white or not. We all have certain privileges, and I do wonder if you really grasp everything that’s going on here. And none of what I’m saying requires believing that the prosecutors are deliberately acting in discriminatory fashion; I’m sure they all think they’re being entirely fair and objective. But I don’t believe for a minute that their preconceptions, conscious or otherwise, don’t play an important role in the decisions they make.

  109. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |

    So every single comment I post in this thread is moderated? If it’s all an automated process, the algorithm obviously hates me.

  110. Sergey
    Sergey February 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm |

    @DonnaL, my longer posts seem to be moderated immediately too.

    But your burden-of-proof commentary is misleading – as an affirmative defense, her argument that killing Dean was justified by self-defense must be stated as soon as the prosecution announces its INTENT to charge her with 2nd degree, not after they’re made their case.

  111. Sergey
    Sergey February 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

    Scratch that, it seems everything I write is moderated with the exception of a correction I tried to make to a comment that hasn’t been released yet. Oh well.

  112. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 13, 2012 at 1:04 am |

    By the way Ben, I’m not entirely sure what you were driving at or whether you were serious, but I can assure you that I don’t think of things in terms of “ally points” or keep score that way. At this point, you’d have to say something pretty egregious for me to think of you as not being an ally.

  113. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 13, 2012 at 1:06 am |

    Ok, I’m going to take a step back because I’ve gotten caught up in arguing and I’m saying things I’m going to regret. To anyone I’ve pissed off: sorry. Last thing I’m going to post.

    I am making arguments that I believe may or not be true. That’s kinda my point; based on my knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system, it isnt clear that the decision to prosecute Cece here is wrong, much less bigoted. It very well might be, but people here were writing extremely incisive things that, to me, seemed unfounded. Donna, you make great points, and I’m sorry for what I wrote about redsfan, which was unfair.

    Night all.

  114. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe February 13, 2012 at 2:07 am |

    Minnesota’s gun rights groups have been fighting a prolonged battle to pass a Stand Your Ground bill and avoid forcing people to make dangerous decisions like this. “Oh, fuck, I’m being attacked by homophobic Nazis…could I run away before the blood loss brings me down? Gosh…”

    William,

    Stand Your Ground does not require you to escape.

    a) Reasonable belief that you or another is in danger
    b) You have reason to believe you cannot escape (this isn’t true in all states, but it is in Minnesota)
    c) You respond with reasonable force, directed at the person threatening you.

    Justamblingalong,

    True. But, in some states you don’t have to escape or think you can, it’s called Stand Your Ground. Although, you still need belief that you’re in danger. And you can respond with deadly force.

  115. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 13, 2012 at 2:59 am |

    Donna, my first paragraph was serious, and I suppose was motivated by mild regret that I had been too nice to Natilo. I didn’t really see how condescending he was being until after you responded to him and I re-read his post. And it reminded me of how in my own life I’ve traditionally let people treat me as he was treating you. I’ve assumed if they are being condescending to me the problem was with me and not them.

    But the second paragraph was definitely sarcastic! Natilo’s entire concept of “ally points” is ridiculous. Just because we disagree with him, we are apparently motivated by frivilous vanity and status-seeking rather than intellectual integrity or the sincere desire to stand up for a friend.

    That said, I’m glad that my ally status has now become practically unassailable. Donna, can I use you as reference when I apply to the Social Justice Super-Academy. /sarcasm/

  116. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong February 13, 2012 at 5:09 am |

    Hey all; I know I said I wouldn’t post again, but I re-read the whole thread and felt the need to say something else:

    Lotus, Donna, Piny, William:

    I still disagree with a lot of what you said, but the way I was responding was assholish in several places. I apologized earlier to “the people I pissed off,” which is sort of like when people apologize ‘if they offended anyone,’ which is good enough, so: sorry for not assuming good faith and generally being rude. I know they don’t tone police here, but I respect a lot of things you’ve written in other places, which is usually a good indicator that the problem is with me, not you, when I don’t respect something you wrote here. I’m not going to keep posting on this thread because I know that one of my less admirable qualities is that I love a good argument too much to agree to disagree when I should, and I crossed that line here.

    By the way, I still have a comment in moderation, so if that gets published after this, it isn’t a sudden change of heart.

  117. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 13, 2012 at 6:35 am |

    I responded much earlier in this thread but it would appear that I got moderated for having a differing opinion. I’ll try again and we’ll see how it goes.

    “CeCe McDonald has a strong sense of justice – she decided to confront Dean and his friends. So she and her group walked toward the bar.”

    This line here is the crux. Despite being verbally assaulted, despite all of the vile hateful things being spewed at her and her friends, she had the option to at least TRY to leavethe situation. The fact that she chose to APPROACH the group shows that she had the option to leave and decided not to take it. She was the author of her own destruction. This is not to say that what happened to her in jail was right or justified, but the main point here is that having had the reasonable option to disengage from the situation and choosing not to indicates that she placed her pride over her safety. She cannot then claim self defence when she voluntarily engaged the group further.

  118. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 13, 2012 at 7:29 am |

    Justamblingalong. . .I didn’t really debate with you much on this thread so it might not be my place to accept your apology. But, at least, I’m still going to assume good faith from you and give your comments due consideration on upcoming threads because I’ve appreciated what you’ve had to say overall on Feministe (even if, yes, you are prone to getting a bit argumentative. I suppose that’s the lawyer in you.)

    I still think you are absolutely 100% dead wrong on this topic though. If you never say anything more about CeCe McDonald’s case, I’ll be pleased. She needs all the positive momentum she can get for her charges to be dismissed, which is what was most annoying to me. This is not some sort of intellectual game. I do think piny, William, Donna, and others got to flesh out a lot of good arguments in support of her in response to you, however, so that will good for lurkers on this thread to see.

    Anyway, though, insomuch as you had anything to apologize for to me personally, I accept your apology. And I also appreciate the overall gracious self-reflection you communicated in your post @114; it’s not always the easiest thing to do after an argument (see Natilo).

  119. William
    William February 13, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Yes.

    So you’re comfortable with sentencing a transwoman to a prison term which will likely be a death sentence because she might have panicked in a fight after being stabbed in the face and misjudged the degree of force necessary to defend herself or escape from a hate crime?

    Yeah, but that’s not how the law is written. If you think it’s a bad thing that’s not how the law is written, then argue that, but the prosecutors job is not to say “oh, we shouldn’t have this law.” It’s like we’re having two different conversation here.

    DonnaL brought up prosecutorial discretion. Its been exercised in a lot of similar cases, its not being exercised here. Saying “this is the law” is not an excuse in a country with a long history of prosecutorial discretion and jury nullification. There are many ways to read this case, CeCe only gets charged under the most unlikely and punitive of those readings.

    1. I am not in charge of writing the law
    2. Neither are the prosecutors
    3. Therefore, the question of whether the law puts undue responsibility on the victims of an assault is beyond both our reaches
    4. The fact is that the law is very clear on what constitutes self defense, and if you kill someone in a way which doesn’t meet specific criteria, then you can’t prove that affirmative defense.

    I’ll be blunt: I feel thats a copout. Prosecutors choose not to pursue weak cases, jurors choose to judge the law, governors grant pardons, police let things slide. This is the reality of the system in which we live. My arguing that CeCe ought to be held to the same standards as a white/cis/stright person who kills in self defense is no more “out of reach” than your argument that white/cis/straight folk ought to be held to the same ridiculous standard she’s being held to.

    Aside from that, if you go and read Minnesota’s actual statutes the standard given is

    “The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized…except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.”

    Not just risk of death, but of great bodily harm. CeCe had already been stabbed, she was an African American transwoman (an intersection which her social justice background lead her to know was incredibly at risk for being a victim of violence), she was under attack by people who had already pelted her with slurs. I would find it difficult to read her self defense as not rooted in a reasonable belief that she was being exposed to “great bodily harm or death” as she had already suffered great bodily harm.

    Ok, I’m going to take a step back because I’ve gotten caught up in arguing and I’m saying things I’m going to regret. To anyone I’ve pissed off: sorry. Last thing I’m going to post.

    That makes two of us. I know I’m an asshole, I let it out a lot, things about your post triggered the hell out of me with a case I already find triggering. Apology accepted.

  120. Donna L
    Donna L February 13, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    Thanks, justamblingalong. I appreciate your willingness to engage in self-reflection about the impact of some of your comments.

  121. tmc
    tmc February 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

    @jesus_marley: What in the everloving fuck? So if someone is verbally harassed and chooses to verbally confront their harasser, they forfeit the right to self-defense if the harassment escalates to violence? So what was she supposed to do when things got physical, just roll up into a ball on the floor and take it because she “placed pride over safety”? Fuck that.

    Congratulations for taking victim blaming to a whole new and disgusting level.

  122. tmc
    tmc February 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    Also, you’re not the only person with modded comments in this thread, so the passive aggressive whining in the beginning of your post was completely unncessary.

  123. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

    “The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized…except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.”

    What’s with the nit-picking over whether Ms. McDonald’s facial wound was “great bodily harm” when the law says “reasonably believes exposes…to great bodily harm” — is there seriously a question as to whether the legal “reasonable person” would consider a bottle to the face to expose them to great bodily harm?

    (tmc @ 122, thank you, the comment you’re replying to was one of the more um…interesting…things I’ve seen in awhile)

  124. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    @TMC – “What in the everloving fuck? So if someone is verbally harassed and chooses to verbally confront their harasser, they forfeit the right to self-defense if the harassment escalates to violence? So what was she supposed to do when things got physical, just roll up into a ball on the floor and take it because she “placed pride over safety”? Fuck that.”

    They have the inherent right to defend themselves in a physical confrontation, but legally no longer can claim self defence as they chose not to disengage from the situation. If they had walked away, and Cece’s harassers had followed and forced a confrontation, then she could claim self defence as she tried to leave but was unable to do so. Self defence as a legal strategy hinges upon whether a person was able to leave the situation. Cece DIDN’T EVEN TRY to leave, therefore, no self defence.

    “Congratulations for taking victim blaming to a whole new and disgusting level.”

    When and where exactly did I blame Cece? Show me. I never once blamed Cece for the attack on her. I never once said she deserved it or that it was justified. All I said is that under the circumstances as described she can’t legally claim self defence. So unless you can show me where I blamed her for this, shut the fuck up.

  125. Sergey
    Sergey February 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |

    @Argenti – Yes, there is a reason to question her belief about “great bodily harm.” A bottle to the face is serious, no doubt – but she didn’t kill the person who did that. She needs to have a reasonable belief that great bodily harm was going to come from Dean, specifically. Now, my familiarity in this area is more from other states, but most of them DO distinguish between regular bodily harm and great bodily harm, because not every act of violence against you entitles you to respond with deadly force. So, yes, there are questions there.

    Re:her role in provoking or not – Yeah, @jesus_marley I think you’ve oversimplifying, and definitely running afoul of some deeply-held beliefs.

    The fact that what she said and her actions leading up to the fight might have legal relevance is anathema to a community that is committed to fighting victim blaming – because a central tenet of that movement is that no amount of provocation can relieve a criminal of responsibility for their crimes.

    And the law comports with that, for the most part, but the trial here is not about her responsibility for starting a fight – I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise. But in order to be entitled to the legal protection of self-defense, some questions about what happened before the fight broke out need to be answered. Minnesota has enshrined into law the idea that you have an obligation to avoid a fight *even if you’re not the one who starts it.*

    That whole idea is anathema to a lot of people, but the idea that Cece bears no responsibility for the fight breaking out is different from saying she bears no responsibility for failing to avoid it – and the law says shes obligated to avoid it. I’m repeating my post at 106, but the Minnesota Supreme Court held that self-defense cannot be claimed if she knew a fight was going to break out and stayed, planning to claim self-defense for injuries she caused.

    So, the fact that she approached the group and what was said beforehand will probably be scrutinized at trial to determine if shes allowed to claim self defense. And I’m sure several people here will find that abhorrent.

  126. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm |

    Self defence as a legal strategy hinges upon whether a person was able to leave the situation. Cece DIDN’T EVEN TRY to leave, therefore, no self defence.

    Nonsense. You’re not required to “retreat” *before* the violence starts; the question is whether you were able to retreat instead of inflicting injury in self-defense. And you have no idea at all whether she tried to do so at that point, or was able to.

    In other words, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  127. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 14, 2012 at 12:07 am |

    @DonnaL – “Nonsense. You’re not required to “retreat” *before* the violence starts; the question is whether you were able to retreat instead of inflicting injury in self-defense. And you have no idea at all whether she tried to do so at that point, or was able to.

    In other words, you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    The violence had already started. You cannot sit there and tell me that Cece did not have a reasonable expectation that the situation would escalate by her confronting her harassers. If you honestly believe that, then you are more naive than I would have thought.
    She had the option to walk away or at the very least to try. She chose not to do so. She didn’t deserve to be attacked, but she likely could have avoided it by choosing to leave.

    As for me not knowing what I am talking about, I deal with this shit on an almost daily basis. I deal with violent, unpredictable people constantly, I am well versed in tactical communication and physical intervention by necessity. I also know when to retreat from a situation before it escalates beyond control. Do not presume that I am some ignorant lay person. I know very well that of which I speak.

  128. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |

    jesus marley, you said the following:

    She was the author of her own destruction.

    and

    I never once blamed Cece for the attack on her. . .show me where I blamed her for this.

    Well, um, there you go. That was suprisingly easy.

    What CeCe did–standing up to verbal abuse–was admirable. She should not have retreated. She did the right thing. The people who were verballing abusing her and her friends were pieces of shit and deserved to be confronted for their heinous behavior.

    If you’re too much of a coward to appreciate this; that’s your problem.

  129. EG
    EG February 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |

    The violence had already started.

    No. The verbal harassment had started. Is this what we’ve come to? People who are being harassed have no right to confront their harassers verbally without forfeiting their right to self-defense? Unless you keep your head down and keep walking, you’ve done the equivalent of throwing the first punch? In that case, it seems obvious to me that Schmitz began the fracas when he began the violence with his verbal harassment, and thus Cece had the right to defend herself.

  130. Sergey
    Sergey February 14, 2012 at 2:46 am |

    Is this what we’ve come to? People who are being harassed have no right to confront their harassers verbally without forfeiting their right to self-defense?

    Well that’s obviously not the case, but neither is that what happened to Cece – the courts articulate very clearly at what point she would lose the ability to claim self defense, and it’s the moment when she chooses not to avoid a physical confrontation, hypothetically.

    Like I said before, if she knew the confrontation would break out into a fight, and she stayed, thinking, “I’ll be fine, I have my scissors,” she’s almost certainly not entitled to self-defense under Minnesota law.

    The following is a quote from the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2006:

    “There is a duty to retreat and avoid danger if reasonably possible. The duty to retreat relates to the election to kill, making a killing unjustified if the danger was reasonably avoidable.”

    Cite: State v Edwards, 717 N.W.2d 405.

    So, if she did indeed forfeit her right to self-defense, [and it's not certain that she did, although there are a lot of questions there] it didn’t happen by going up and verbally confronting them. It would have had to have happened after that, at some point when she could have been reasonably expected to see what was coming and avoid it.

    Maybe there was no such point. Maybe the first punch came out of the blue. If I were the defense, that’s definitely what I’d argue. How could she be reasonably expected to avoid something she doesn’t see coming?

    But that’s not clear cut – what was said [or yelled back and forth] before that could easily negate such a defense. That’s part of the reason there are so many questions in this case – whether or not she can legally claim self-defense isn’t obvious.

  131. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 14, 2012 at 7:16 am |

    @Lotusben – Of course if you take my comments completely out of context, you can twist them to say whatever you want them to. Disengenuousnous is not becoming of you. That comment was entirely referring to her no longer having the legal claim of self defense as she no longer met the requirement under the law. Why is this so hard for you to grasp? people have a legal responsibility to avoid situations like this one if they are able to do so otherwise they are legally culpable for their actions. The self defence doctrine is in place so that people who have no other choice can still act without fear of legal repercussion. She had a choice, and it is reasonable that had she not confronted her harassers for their assholish behaviour the entire situation could have been avoided. The basic reality is that given the choice to try to leave or continue with the encounter, she chose to continue.

    @EG – obviously she has the right to confront her harassers. I never said she didn’t, but doing so comes with a reasonable belief that the situation will escalate and under the law, not doing everything possible to disengage before violence starts eliminates your claim to self defence. If she had walked away and was persued, she could claim self defense as she would be able to demonstrate that she tried to disengage but was unable to do so. Her actions in this did not in any way justify the further escalation of violence but she did nothing to try and avoid it either.
    you seem to be conflating two separate aspects of this case. the actual attack which she is in no way responsible for and her responsibility to avoid the same thing if possible, which she chose not to do.

  132. William
    William February 14, 2012 at 9:39 am |

    Sergey

    “There is a duty to retreat and avoid danger if reasonably possible. The duty to retreat relates to the election to kill, making a killing unjustified if the danger was reasonably avoidable.”

    Cite: State v Edwards, 717 N.W.2d 405.

    Once a gang of drunken white supremacists has started calling you a nigger and a faggot I’m not sure a reasonable person would believe that they could walk away. Thats especially true of someone who is a part of a marginalized group (or, in CeCe’s case, a whole cluster of marginalized groups) for whom hate crimes are a reality of daily life. I think a compelling argument could well be made that, from the very moment Schmitz opened his mouth, a “reasonable” person could believe that they were in grave physical danger and that her confronting of Schmitz could be read not as escalation but as a failed attempt intimidate an attacker.

    jesus_marley

    obviously she has the right to confront her harassers

    Thats a right rendered meaningless if exercising it eliminates a legal right to safety. Do you mean to suggest that a victim of a hate crime loses their legal right to self defense if they respond verbally in a way that might anger their attacker?

    not doing everything possible to disengage before violence starts eliminates your claim to self defence.

    Which is why Minnesota needs a “Stand Your Ground” law. Asking victims to make these kinds of decisions in the heat of the moment is ridiculous. You’re not asked to make them in your own home, why on Earth should the rules be different if you’re minding your own business and accosted by neo Nazis?

  133. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    @William – “Do you mean to suggest that a victim of a hate crime loses their legal right to self defense if they respond verbally in a way that might anger their attacker?”

    I mean to suggest that if you have an option to disengage from a potentially violent situation you have a legal responsibility to exercise it. If you choose not to do so, that is also your right but then you also must accept that self defense no longer applies. Lets say that you wake up and your curtains are on fire, the door is not blocked but instead of leaving you try to fight the fire. You are unable to contain the fire and it spreads and you are now trapped. same thing with self defense. You are accosted by someone who is verbally abusive. you can walk away or you can try to confront them. choose wisely.

    “Asking victims to make these kinds of decisions in the heat of the moment is ridiculous.”

    Why? I make these kinds of decisions every day. sometimes I can leave sometimes I cannot, but at the end of the day, I always tried to disengage so I can claim self defense.

    “You’re not asked to make them in your own home, why on Earth should the rules be different if you’re minding your own business and accosted by neo Nazis?”

    Being accosted in your home assumes, by default, that you cannot escape. It’s called the “castle doctrine”. basically, your home is the last safe bastion you have. It is unreasonable to expect someone to leave that, therefore, being accosted in your home automatically defaults to self defense. Being on an open street and being far enough away from the bar that Cece had to walk towards it to confront her attackers meant she had a reasonable expectation of disengagement if she had tried to do so.

  134. Sergey
    Sergey February 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    I’m not sure a reasonable person would believe that they could walk away.

    That’s precisely the function of juries. [To pretend like they're reasonable people.]

    In other states, [like Illinois] killing in self-defense – particularly when the deceased is unarmed – is so heavily scrutinized that they often disallow people to claim self defense unless they gave some kind of verbal warning that they used deadly force.

    In a lot of situations, that requirement winds up looking absurd. But a lot of courts are loathe to allow the legal protection for an armed person to kill an unarmed person – ESPECIALLY without a jury trial finding that they acted reasonably.

    That same court case also states very clearly that Minnesota requires a person claiming self-defense to be innocent of provocation or aggression in the troubles. The lower courts have understood that to mean something not unlike what jesus_marley has said – although he’s oversimplified quite a bit – that what she said and beforehand might be relevant.

    Of course, it might not be as well. My point is not that shes clearly guilty of a crime. My point is that her actions are not clearly protected by self defense. It’s not clear that shes innocent of provocation, as the Minnesota courts have interpreted it, and it’s not clear that reasonable people couldn’t disagree about her options in retreating.

    Therefore, it’s also not clear that a trial would do nothing more than confirm the obvious. My read of the prosecutor’s comments is that they only dismiss when a trial would essentially be redundant. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, because the legal issue of her ability to claim self-defense is not cut and dried.

    It honestly does not strike me as a grave injustice to have her go to trial.

  135. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

    And you’re both ignoring that the prosecution still would have to prove an intentional killing before the burden shifted to Ms. McDonald to prove self-defense. As well as my question about how you think prosecutorial discretion would have been exercised if she belonged to a hypothetically different demographic.

  136. Sergey
    Sergey February 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    I said this before, but my first comment was in mod so long I thought they had declined to publish it for some reason –

    Taking her trial gives all the circumstances, the context, the loaded social undertones present in that interaction LEGAL significance that they do not have outside a trial setting. The law says she has to act reasonably *under the circumstances.* That means the defense gets to present all the evidence about the abuse and bigotry she faces on a daily basis, and the jury gets to hear evidence relating to the discrimination felt by extreme minority groups like her and her friends.

    That’s a good thing, because the self-defense doctrine on its face might be read by many people to exclude her. [along the lines of what jesus_marley has said]
    But more along the lines of what William has said, a reasonable person *in her position* might realize that there’s more going on in these interactions than mere heckling-turned-bar-fight, and the differences would likely weigh in her favor.

  137. Sergey
    Sergey February 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    @DonnaL, I believe you’re mistaken. An affirmative defense is one that changes how the trial will proceed, so they have to be announced ahead of time. If she were not claiming self defense, the prosecution would focus solely on forensics and witness testimony to establish that she was the one who did it.

    The law doesn’t allow her to sit through the prosecution’s whole case and then say, yeah, it WAS me, but it was self-defense, so I’m not guilty.

    That’s considered unfair surprise in our legal system, because the prosecution goes first at trial. So they need to know ahead of time. And when the defense says to the judge that they’re going to use the facts of the case to convince the jury it was self-defense, the judge also has a chance then before the trial to determine if the law disallows that approach.

  138. Sergey
    Sergey February 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    As well as my question about how you think prosecutorial discretion would have been exercised if she belonged to a hypothetically different demographic.

    Well, since I’ve obviously said I think a trial here is warranted under the circumstances, I’d say it’s an obvious corruption to allow anyone to avoid it on the basis of their race.

  139. William
    William February 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

    Lets say that you wake up and your curtains are on fire, the door is not blocked but instead of leaving you try to fight the fire. You are unable to contain the fire and it spreads and you are now trapped. same thing with self defense. You are accosted by someone who is verbally abusive. you can walk away or you can try to confront them. choose wisely.

    Except, we’re not talking about a home on fire, we’re talking about self defense. It would seem to me that the better analogy when discussing self defense would be other self defense situations in which the law is well established. Context matters, so lets look at the context in Minnesota. Minnesota, like more than half of the states in the US, has a “Castle Doctrine” law on the books. Seventeen states have “stand your ground” laws and Minnesota has been the center of an active movement to become the eighteenth. Minnesota, like all but one state in the US, permits individual citizens to carry concealed firearms with a permit. Minnesota’s law, like the vast majority of states in the US, puts minimal restrictions on this right and does not require an applicant to show a need for a weapon. If you look at the broader context of self defense in the United States you’ll see a movement towards a more permissive legal view of self defense as evidenced by expanding carry laws and recent SCOTUS cases interpreting the 2nd Amendment as an individual right to own firearms for the express and presumptively lawful purpose of self defense.

    So, no, I’m not convinced that CeCe’s challenge of a hate crime means she gave up a right to defend herself when later attacked. I’m outright stating that such an interpretation of the law is repellant to me and that I would nullify if I were on that jury and given such instructions.

    Why? I make these kinds of decisions every day. sometimes I can leave sometimes I cannot, but at the end of the day, I always tried to disengage so I can claim self defense.

    Because oppressed persons should not be in the position of having to justify their existences or right to be safe. Nothing I can say, short of a direct threat, can possibly justify violence against me. To suggest otherwise by saying that certain forms of behavior somehow strip us of our right to defend ourselves is to stack the books against oppressed persons. “Either shut up and take it when they treat you as subhuman or accept that you’ll go to jail if they try to hurt you after you speak” is not an acceptable choice.

    Being accosted in your home assumes, by default, that you cannot escape.

    Thats not what the Castle Doctrine is about. The Castle Doctrine is based on the view that in your own home you should not be expected to even attempt to retreat. The Castle Doctrine is an explicit repudiation of the “duty to retreat” in the home in the same way as “Stand Your Ground” laws are repudiations of a duty to retreat outside of the home. It is the explicit legal understanding that if someone threatens you the consequences are on them rather than you. It is not a default to self defense but an immunity to prosecution or criminal liability that is very different from an affirmative defense.

    Being on an open street and being far enough away from the bar that Cece had to walk towards it to confront her attackers meant she had a reasonable expectation of disengagement if she had tried to do so.

    Only because Minnesota’s laws are fucked up. Look, its illegal to have narcotics. I believe that law to be immoral, I can see with my own eyes that it is prosecuted unevenly and used to oppress specific populations. As a result I do what I can to work against it: I argue my point, I don’t call the police if I see someone breaking the law, I openly express my disdain for the law and those who uphold it, I nullify if I’m on a jury, and I don’t necessarily play by the rules and admit that I’ve got a problem with the law if I’m called for jury duty.

    Maybe none of those positions will change the law in Minnesota, but if enough people talk about judging the law theres a chance that a prosecutor will choose not to pursue charges or that a juror will hear and choose make a moral judgement about the prosecution of CeCe McDonald.

  140. William
    William February 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

    It honestly does not strike me as a grave injustice to have her go to trial.

    It honestly strikes me as a grave injustice to disrupt the life of CeCe, put her at risk of being murdered in jail for being trans while she waits for an eventual trial, put her through the enormous expense that comes from defending oneself from a charge like this, expose her to the incredibly high likelihood that she will either be forced to live out the rest of her days in solitary confinement or face likely rape and murder if convicted once she moves on to prison, put her fate in the hands of twelve people who likely have strong negative feelings about transfolk or African Americans, and send a message to several communities of oppressed persons that standing up means facing all of these risks all in order to be absolutely certain that she did everything she could to protect the life of a violent neo Nazi who incited a gang of his friends to attack her after pelting her with dehumanizing slurs patently designed to drive her from a public space.

    That strikes me as a grave injustice. Defending it strikes me as morally offensive.

  141. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

    [blockquote]
    a violent neo Nazi who incited a gang of his friends to attack her
    [/blockquote]

    ?

    Schmitz was part of a group of people at a bar (not a gang) who were all yelling slurs (we do not know if he “incited” anything). We do not, in fact, know if Schmitz exhibited violence (at least not from the reports I’ve seen). We do know that the coroner found a tattoo of a swastika, but because he is dead, we cannot confirm with him that he was a “neo Nazi.”

    CeCe’s supporters are very careful to use the word “attacker” when describing Schmitz, but he most clearly did not start the physical brawl and witnesses say that Dean was trying to pull people off of a woman on the ground (most likely CeCe) when he was stabbed.

    His yelling of racial and transphobic slurs is reprehensible, but no one deserves to die for their vocalized stupidity.

    It is tragic that this CeCe’s case and jail treatment are colored by her transness. At the same time, we don’t need to make false or misleading statements about the one person who suffered the most from this altercation.

  142. EG
    EG February 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm |

    We do know that the coroner found a tattoo of a swastika, but because he is dead, we cannot confirm with him that he was a “neo Nazi.”

    I’m going to go ahead and say that getting the symbol of Nazism permanently etched onto one’s body is even more convincing evidence of being a neo-Nazi than a verbal confirmation. Although I like the idea that some dude who shouts racist and transphobic bullshit at passersby and has a swastika tattoo might deny being a Nazi and you would find it convincing. I mean, what, maybe he got the tattoo because he thought swastikas were pretty? Or sure, maybe he’s super-committed to Jainism. But I’m going to look at the evidence, note that he shouts racist and transphobic insults, consider the overwhelmingly large association the swastika has with Nazism in the west, and go with “neo-Nazi.”

    On a different note, the idea that responding verbally to verbal harassment somehow undercuts evidence of self-defense is so stupid that I cannot even deal with it right now. But I guess if the goal is to silence subjugated groups, it’s the way to go.

  143. Officer A
    Officer A February 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    If a person has done any prison time (prison, not jail) then joining a gang on the inside is a matter of survival. For white guys that means AB, Nazi Lowriders, Peckerwoods, etc.

    Tats are part of the deal. You’ll find lots of guys who don’t identify as true-blue white supremacists but they’ll have the tats because they had to in order to survive prison.

  144. EG
    EG February 14, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

    You’ll find lots of guys who don’t identify as true-blue white supremacists but they’ll have the tats because they had to in order to survive prison.

    I’d find that more convincing if he hadn’t been standing outside a bar shouting racist insults.

  145. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

    Or sure, maybe he’s super-committed to Jainism.

    Lol. Brilliant EG.

    His yelling of racial and transphobic slurs is reprehensible, but no one deserves to die for their vocalized stupidity.

    I agree, no one deserves to die merely because of things they said, no matter how reprehensible. But I still can’t work up much sympathy for the Mr. Schmitz. Granted, I don’t know that much about him apart for his role in this particular incident, and I’m sure there are people who greatly miss him. But the baser part of me finds a sort of grim satisfaction in what happened to him. I’m not religious, but you know. . .you reap what you sow. I probably shouldn’t even say that. It doesn’t look good; but yeah–that’s something I feel even if I’m not proud of it.

  146. Officer A
    Officer A February 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

    I’d find that more convincing if he hadn’t been standing outside a bar shouting racist insults.

    Certainly. I was just saying that tats alone aren’t solid evidence of gang affiliation when it comes to white supremacists.

  147. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 15, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    You have no idea whatsoever that it “took her 6 months” to claim self-defense. Just because that’s when she filed a notice that she intended to raise that defense doesn’t mean it’s when she first told her lawyer or anyone else about it. Do you think she’s an expert on the legal niceties of such things? And it’s not as if the story she told at the time of her “confession” — essentially, that it was an accident — would remotely support a “straight-up murder charge” in the first place.

    I think it’s so lovely that people are going out of their way to think of reasons why having a swastika tattoo and shouting racist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs at passers-by might not actually make someone a real, true-blue Nazi thug.

    As usual, I agree with EG — both on that issue, and on thinking that the idea that if you’re verbally attacked or harassed and do anything other than walk away, and then violence breaks out, you’ve forfeited your right to claim self-defense afterwards, makes no sense as a practical matter, is extraordinarily unjust, and I simply don’t believe it. Show me a Minnesota Supreme Court case that clearly says that’s the law, and maybe I’ll change my mind. But not my opinion on whether it’s right.

  148. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 12:07 am |

    you reap what you sow

    And, what exactly did he sow? CeCe admits to hurling insults back and walking directly up to the group. Did CeCe reap what she sowed?

    I don’t understand why we can’t have a more complex discussion about the obstacles to CeCe’s justice that are real and tangible, without flat out pulling shit outta our assess about what Schmidt *must* have done to deserve his murder. Schmidt was an asshole, but that isn’t a crime. And why is that “justice” for CeCe means that she gets off the hook. It’s quite possible to be guilty and still receive justice.

  149. Officer A
    Officer A February 15, 2012 at 12:09 am |

    I think it’s so lovely that people are going out of their way to think of reasons why having a swastika tattoo and shouting racist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs at passers-by might not actually make someone a real, true-blue Nazi thug.

    DonnaL- My point was he was almost certainly a racist homophobic transphobic piece of shit BUT that doesn’t mean he was actually a member of a white supremacy gang. Yes, I am probably splitting hairs but the difference matters in that once a person is formally identified as being a member of that kind of organization outside of prison, it shows a whole other level of intent.

    It could mean a great deal to the defense if CeCe knew he was actually a known Arian Botherhood on the outside because then she could most certainly articulate he was part of a group that intended to seriously injure her as is their MO.

    This is different from the standard racist homophobic transphobic piece of shit who we must speculate on his intentions based on his actions immediately before and during the attack.

  150. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 12:12 am |

    DonnaL: I’m not disputing Schmidt’s racism. I was disputing William’s gross overexaggeration of details that he cannot prove. I believe “incite”, “gang” and “neo-Nazi” were the ones I thought were unsubstantiated.

  151. EG
    EG February 15, 2012 at 12:17 am |

    CeCe admits to hurling insults back and walking directly up to the group. Did CeCe reap what she sowed?

    What she sowed? You mean, by refusing to be cowed and silenced by racist, homophobic, transphobic harassers? She actually…responded to people who were insulting her? And she responded with hostility? And she walked over to the group?

    Yeah, sure, she was totally asking for it.

    She didn’t initiate this encounter. She didn’t harass strangers on the street. She didn’t throw the first punch. What, precisely, did she sow?

    This bullshit is reminding me of the way women are always told never, ever to respond to street harassment, because we never know what the harasser will do, and I guess somehow we have magical powers to determine what he does. This is bullshit. All it does is silence women, trans people, gay people, and other victims of street harassment.

  152. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 15, 2012 at 12:58 am |

    And, what exactly did he sow? CeCe admits to hurling insults back and walking directly up to the group. Did CeCe reap what she sowed?

    I don’t understand why we can’t have a more complex discussion about the obstacles to CeCe’s justice that are real and tangible, without flat out pulling shit outta our assess about what Schmidt *must* have done to deserve his murder. Schmidt was an asshole, but that isn’t a crime. And why is that “justice” for CeCe means that she gets off the hook. It’s quite possible to be guilty and still receive justice.

    Well, actually, I think the sort of street harrassment Schmidt did toward CeCe and her friends might have qualified as a crime, although I’m not sure about that. It definitely should be a crime. In any event, I’m not proud of what I said or felt about Schmidt in my last post, so I won’t elaborate on it anymore. But I can’t and won’t claim to be a neutral observer here. I’m sure I have a positive bias toward trans women about my age, and an negative bias toward older, douchier, racist, transphobic Neo-Nazis/devout Jain street harrassers. Also, I admire people who have the courage to respond in self-defense to verbal or physical abuse, like CeCe did, and despise people who have the bullying mentality to initiate verbal or physical abuse, like Schmidt and his friends did. I know whose side I’m on. And I’m more interested in solidarity than abstract ideals of justice.

  153. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    …disrupt the life of CeCe, put her at risk of being murdered in jail for being trans while she waits for an eventual trial, put her through the enormous expense that comes from defending oneself from a charge like this, expose her to the incredibly high likelihood that she will either be forced to live out the rest of her days in solitary confinement or face likely rape and murder.

    Those are fine objections to the way our justice system is implemented – but it has nothing to do with the question of her guilt. She might still be guilty of a crime.

    It seems like people in this thread are quick to jump to one side or the other; either the transphobia and racism are the paramount issue and all others are marginal, or the murder is and the rest doesn’t matter.

    Thank you Q Grrl for pointing out what no one else is saying – it could be both. Sure, let’s talk about the horrible conditions and treatment she’s received. Being denied access to medical care? Unconscionable.

    But that discussion doesn’t require that we gloss over the *she might have committed murder* issue. And it certainly doesn’t require that we lobby for her immediate release.

  154. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 1:53 am |

    Sorry Donna I didn’t notice until just now you asked for the exact case. That much I can at least provide:

    “In addition, the absence of aggression or provocation by the actor is required before self-defense may be claimed.” State v. Edwards, 717 N.W.2d 405 (2006) [Citing State v. Thompson, 544 N.W.2d 8, 12 (Minn.1996)]

    I doubt anyone would claim Cece acted with ‘aggression’ but ‘provocation’ could easily come from the verbal exchange. So it might matter what she said.

  155. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 1:56 am |

    I can also give you more on the duty to retreat if you’d like:

    “There is a duty to retreat and avoid danger if reasonably possible. The duty to retreat relates to the election to kill, making a killing unjustified if the danger was reasonably avoidable. Id. The justification that exonerates a defendant from criminal responsibility for the use of deadly force is limited by an objective standard where society would agree that the use of deadly force was necessary and a part of that objectivity analysis includes the duty to retreat if at all possible to avoid the harm.”

    State v. Edwards, 717 N.W.2d 405 (2006) [Citing State v. Austin, 332 N.W.2d 21, 24 (Minn.1983)]

  156. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 15, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    But that discussion doesn’t require that we gloss over the *she might have committed murder* issue. And it certainly doesn’t require that we lobby for her immediate release.

    Fuck that. Anything *might have* happened. Unicorns fight have flown out my asshole last night while I was sleeping. I have been reading all of y’all’s stupid ass points over and over again, and I remain utterly unconvinced. William and Donna and piny and EG and I are not glossing over shit. We have been responding to all of y’all’s stupid garbage. “CeCe could be a murderer, she maybe deserved what she got.” OK, got it. Your points are utterly implausible and have been refuted from every angle. Some glossing now would actually be nice.

  157. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 15, 2012 at 2:11 am |

    Typo correction: Unicorns might have flown out my asshole. I’m going to bed.

  158. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 15, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    @ William – “Except, we’re not talking about a home on fire, we’re talking about self defense. It would seem to me that the better analogy when discussing self defense would be other self defense situations in which the law is well established. Context matters, so lets look at the context in Minnesota. Minnesota, like more than half of the states in the US, has a “Castle Doctrine” law on the books. Seventeen states have “stand your ground” laws and Minnesota has been the center of an active movement to become the eighteenth. Minnesota, like all but one state in the US, permits individual citizens to carry concealed firearms with a permit. Minnesota’s law, like the vast majority of states in the US, puts minimal restrictions on this right and does not require an applicant to show a need for a weapon. If you look at the broader context of self defense in the United States you’ll see a movement towards a more permissive legal view of self defense as evidenced by expanding carry laws and recent SCOTUS cases interpreting the 2nd Amendment as an individual right to own firearms for the express and presumptively lawful purpose of self defense.”

    Umm that isn’t an analogy.

    “Because oppressed persons should not be in the position of having to justify their existences or right to be safe. Nothing I can say, short of a direct threat, can possibly justify violence against me. To suggest otherwise by saying that certain forms of behavior somehow strip us of our right to defend ourselves is to stack the books against oppressed persons. “Either shut up and take it when they treat you as subhuman or accept that you’ll go to jail if they try to hurt you after you speak” is not an acceptable choice.”

    Nobody should ever have to be in that position whether they are viewed as historically oppressed or not. The basic truth remains that regardless of type of threat against you or me for that matter you and me have the same duty to retreat if possible. If I am harassed or attacked on the streets, my rights aren’t any more or less violated because of my perceived minority status. I know the doctrine goes against the basic human need to respond to a threat, but under the law, in order to claim self defense, a person has to act defensively, and not in an aggressive manner. Speaking as a visible minority I am subject to verbal harassment on a constant basis. I can choose to fight every person that calls me Tonto, or I can ignore it and only fight the people that take it further into inescapable violence.

    “Thats not what the Castle Doctrine is about. The Castle Doctrine is based on the view that in your own home you should not be expected to even attempt to retreat. The Castle Doctrine is an explicit repudiation of the “duty to retreat” in the home in the same way as “Stand Your Ground” laws are repudiations of a duty to retreat outside of the home. It is the explicit legal understanding that if someone threatens you the consequences are on them rather than you. It is not a default to self defense but an immunity to prosecution or criminal liability that is very different from an affirmative defense.”

    Thank you for ‘splaining this. I didn’t already know it.

    “Only because Minnesota’s laws are fucked up. Look, its illegal to have narcotics. I believe that law to be immoral, I can see with my own eyes that it is prosecuted unevenly and used to oppress specific populations. As a result I do what I can to work against it: I argue my point, I don’t call the police if I see someone breaking the law, I openly express my disdain for the law and those who uphold it, I nullify if I’m on a jury, and I don’t necessarily play by the rules and admit that I’ve got a problem with the law if I’m called for jury duty.”

    That is you right to nullify if you think you can. But as the law is currently written, Cece had the duty to retreat. I certainly do hope though that your disdain for the misapplication of the law, does not translate to the advocacy of laws that see some people as more equal than others.

    “Maybe none of those positions will change the law in Minnesota, but if enough people talk about judging the law theres a chance that a prosecutor will choose not to pursue charges or that a juror will hear and choose make a moral judgement about the prosecution of CeCe McDonald.”

    I’m sorry but I can’t help but get the feeling that many people here feel that her being Trans somehow gives her an automatic pass in this scenario. While her being trans certainly factors into the equation, that is all it does. The facts of this case are that there is still a person that is dead and there is sufficient cause to suspect Cece was responsible. The purpose of this trial is as much to determine whether she actually committed the crime she is accused of as it is to determine whether a crime was in fact committed. Her treatment while in jail is reprehensible but that is a separate issue from the trial itself.

  159. William
    William February 15, 2012 at 9:15 am |

    Q Grrl

    I believe “incite”, “gang” and “neo-Nazi” were the ones I thought were unsubstantiated.

    Schmitz was with a group of people (gang), began shouting unprovoked slurs which lead to a confrontation in which his party ultimately escalated to physical violence (incite), and was both heard spouting racial slurs and found to have a swastika tattooed on his body (neo Nazi). I’ll stand behind that choice of words any day of the week.

    Its funny how people all through this thread seem to bend over backwards to figure out how Schmitz isn’t a violence inciting neo Nazi while doing a similar level of gymnastics to imagine a scenario in which CeCe is a murderer. Its almost like, I dunno, some people just don’t want to believe that a transperson might have to kill to survive hate crimes…

    Sergey

    Those are fine objections to the way our justice system is implemented – but it has nothing to do with the question of her guilt. She might still be guilty of a crime.

    Allow me to be clear, because it seems that some people aren’t quite certain of the stance I’m taking. What I’m saying is that, aside from the fact that I believe CeCe to be innocent, under any theory of the case I can imagine I do not believe that the punishment which she would face would be justified. Our justice system isn’t supposed to be about punishment and there is nothing to correct or rehabilitate here, CeCe isn’t a threat to the community. From here on out all we have is blind adherence to the rules, regardless of context or consequences.

    Exceptions are made all the time: charges are dropped, plea deals made. That that hasn’t happened here is where we see the most obvious way in which racism and transphobia work in this case.

  160. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 9:25 am |

    EG – chill the fuck out and read what I was responding to. I have never said she “sowed” or “reaped” anything. I was using LotusBen’s sickening double standard, wherein he freely admitted that a man’s opinions justify his murder.

    All it does is silence women, trans people, gay people, and other victims of street harassment.

    Yes, it does. That’s why harassment is so effective in controlling public space. Yet, at the end of the day, everyone is still alive.

  161. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 9:32 am |

    Also? Can we put to rest this whole idea that CeCe was denied medical care? Because that? I didn’t happen.

    In fact, they reviewed the administration of her Miranda rights because of the length of time it took to treat her, how late it was at night because of this treatment, and because she had been administered an anesthetic. Representatives on both sides of this issue wanted to make sure that her earlier confession was not compromised by these factors.

  162. piny
    piny February 15, 2012 at 10:33 am |

    But it did happen. It’s the timeline that’s confused, and the effect her distress may have had on her confession, not the neglect itself.

    She was taken to the hospital after the arrest, then stitched up, then given some pain medication. So she was not denied immediate attention in the aftermath of the assault. Her attorney admits that.

    But she was denied followup care for her wound during the two subsequent months she was incarcerated. And she needed medical attention–her face was swollen, and she was in pain.

  163. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    Thank you for the clarification — I did miss that.

    That is absolutely unethical and inhumane, as is her confinement to solitary.

  164. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    State v. Edwards, 717 N.W.2d 405 (2006) [Citing State v. Austin, 332 N.W.2d 21, 24 (Minn.1983)]

    Sergey, I have neither the time nor the inclination to get into a prolonged legal debate with you; this isn’t really the place for it.

    However, I had a feeling that if you supplied a citation I’d be able to see what was wrong with your analysis, and I believe that Edwards proves me correct. The duty to attempt to withdraw from the affray — even before any actual violence starts — in order to preserve the right to claim self-defense, clearly applies (if it applies to anyone) only to the initial aggressor. And I don’t think that was CeCe under any version of the facts. See the jury instruction quoted in Edwards:

    If the defendant began or induced the incident that led to the necessity of using force in the defendant’s own defense, the right to stand the defendant’s ground and thus defend himself is not immediately available to him. Instead, the defendant must first have declined to carry on the affray and have honestly tried to escape from it, and must clearly and fairly have informed the adversary of a desire for peace and of abandonment of the contest. Only after the defendant has done that will the law justify the defendant in thereafter standing his ground and using force against the other person.

    (Emphasis added). See also the Court’s explanation of the principle: “[t]he law does not permit or justify one who intends to commit an assault upon another to design in advance his own defense by instigating a quarrel or a combat with a view thereby to create a situation wherein the infliction of the intended injury will appear to have been done in self-defense.”

    In fact, even as to the initial aggressor — here, Schmitz, not Ms. McDonald — the court made clear that the “incident” referred to in the instruction (and the resulting forfeiture of the defense for the aggressor absent an attempt to withdraw), cannot be based on mere conversation, but refers to “a quarrel or conflict with potentially serious consequences.”

    (Since Edwards, the word “affray” in the instructions has been replaced by “assault” to make clear what’s being referred to.)

    In any event, this “withdraw or forfeit” doctrine is clearly inapplicable to Ms. McDonald, who was not the person who precipitated or initiated either the initial incident, or the ensuing violence. Your argument is entirely misplaced. As I strongly suspected must be the case.

    DonnaL, Esq.

  165. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    @William
    She did actually turn down a plea, althought I would have too cuz it was a pretty bad deal.

    Here’s the stance I’m taking – I have no opinion about her guilt. Really I don’t. I think there’s not nearly enough information to make that determination, and that’s because I’ve been looking at what the law says. I realize that most of the people here defending her innoncence aren’t applying the law to reach that conclusion, they’re just saying “this is what is right, if the law doesn’t say that then to hell with it.” And that’s fine.

    The only position I really do have is that a trial is warranted. Regardless of the outcome. If she’s found innocent then woohoo – maybe that verdict will help the prosecutor dismiss similar cases in the future.

    But I do have a question, even though my gut says this is going to get me into trouble –
    To the people who have said she was brave or courageous for standing up for herself and going over there to engage Dean and his friends… what could she possibly have hoped to accomplish? What good might have come out of that? Do we imagine a group of neo Nazis would be less likely to drunkenly yell slurs in the future because some girl loudly insulted them once?

    I wonder about that in the context of the duty to retreat, because that seemed like a fine rule to me but a lot of people balked at it. Well it was designed to prevent exactly this kind of thing. What social good does screaming back at them try to accomplish that outweighs the goal of preventing this sort of violence?

  166. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    ^
    If my last comment ever comes out of moderation, you’ll see that I take the position that your presentation of the “duty to retreat” is a misstatement of applicable law, and clearly not supported by the case you cited. In a nutshell, the requirement to retreat from the affray in advance of the actual violence, to the extent it applies at all, clearly applies only to the initial aggressor. Not to someone in CeCe’s position.

  167. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

    @Donna,
    I’ll watch for it then – it seemed to me that the duty to retreat applied to anyone wanting to claim self-defense. If I’m wrong on that, I’ll welcome your rebuttal.

  168. EG
    EG February 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    EG – chill the fuck out and read what I was responding to. I have never said she “sowed” or “reaped” anything. I was using LotusBen’s sickening double standard, wherein he freely admitted that a man’s opinions justify his murder.

    I’ll chill the fuck out if you stop trying to weasel out of what you said. Ben said that he, personally, had no sympathy for the dead man, and that was his feeling, not an objective truth. So that’s the question I put to you: what, precisely, underlies your feeling that the same standard should apply to Cece, who was walking down the street minding her own business, as should apply to a neo-Nazi shouting racist insults?

    I don’t find Ben’s double standard sickening at all. Given that there is no resemblance whatsoever between situations Schmitz and Cece were in, a different standard is perfectly appropriate.

  169. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Not to mention, Q Grrl, that you falsely presented Ben’s “double standard” in two respects by positing it as “a man’s opinions justify his murder.”

    It certainly wasn’t merely his “opinions” that resulted in his death, and it was only “murder” if you reject every single thing that everyone but you and a couple of others have said in this thread. Ben’s statement did not assume either to be the case.

  170. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

    Ah, I see your comment now. But I’m afraid you have confused the duty to retreat with the requirement to be innocent of provocation or aggression. The jury instruction you quoted was correct on the law, because someone who is the initial aggressor forfeits self-defense due to his initial aggression or provocation. Under such circumstances, a right to self-defense is restored only when an express attempt to disengage has been made.

    That is separate from the duty to retreat, which applied to all self-defense claims EXCEPT those that arise from inside one’s own home. In fact, both of these things are necessary elements of the self-defense doctrine.

    “The elements of self-defense are (1) the absence of aggression or provocation on the part of the defendant; (2) the defendant’s actual and honest belief that he or she was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm; (3) the existence of reasonable grounds for that belief; and (4) the absence of a reasonable possibility of retreat to avoid the danger.”

    I’m reading that from State v. Johnson, 719 N.W.2d 619 (2006) where it’s citing State v. Basting as the root, which has been reiterated in cases as recently as Oct. 2011.

    The Edwards court was discussing CRIMJIG 7.07, the revival of an aggressor’s right to self defense. This is separate from the requirement to retreat, which was established judicially. In fact, the statutes on reasonable force include commentary saying the legislature deliberately left determination of duty to retreat to the courts.

    The Supreme Court adopted a reasonable duty to retreat as a necessary element of the self-defense claim, without regard to who was the initial aggressor.

  171. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    Ah, Donna, I seem to have fallen into moderation again – but when it gets out, I wrote a small rebuttal because I believe you are conflating need to be innocent of initial aggression/provocation with duty to retreat, which are separate elements.

  172. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    EG — Your reading comprehension skills are sorely lacking. I don’t think that CeCe “reaped” or “sowed” anything. I do believe that is the SECOND damn time I’ve said that. So you can quit trying to twist my words.

    Ben did, in fact, state that he felt Schmidt deserved to lose his life because of his beliefs and statements. I am curious as to why Schmidt’s life is the price of his choices, but that Ben holds CeCe to a different set of standards in which choice looks like self-defense rather than escalation.

    I am not saying that CeCe escalated anything. I am saying that by LotusBen’s standards, CeCe should be considered to have escalated the situation. Do you see the difference? Probably not.

    My statements are not about CeCe, but about LotusBen’s reprehensible comments.

    To both you and DonnaL: I don’t see where you can say that it was more than Schmidt’s words that got him killed. Eyewitness reports have him initiating the verbal assault, but not the physical assault, and they put the initiation of the physical assault on the woman who was with Schmidt. Most reports say that CeCe’s group outnumbered Schmidt and his female friend by a 3:1 ratio. Most eyewitness reports also say that Schmidt appeared to be stabbed when he was pulling CeCe’s group off of his female friend.

    None of that rules out a possible self-defense scenario for CeCe, but it also does not rule out Schmidt being killed for the non-crime of shouting racist and transphobic slurs. You two, plus Ben, seem very comfortable with this latter possibility. You seem to approve of Schmidt’s death, as if this is the natural outcome of drunken, late-night verbal assaults. Or if not the natural outcome, then a justified outcome for all the oppressed peoples of the world.

    That’s a pretty slippery slope and, as a fellow member of the oppressed peoples of the world, one that I see as being more problematic for people of color, queers, and women than it is for those who already occupy the dominant paradigm. I think you three are smart enough to see the logical conclusion of living in a world where it is okay to kill people for their personal beliefs.

    But then again, none of this means that CeCe should suffer while waiting trial. She should not be held in solitary. She should be allowed to meet with advocates. She should be given the proper and adequate health care that she needs.

    I did not feel the need to comment in this thread until William, and then Lotus Ben, started making factual errors and gross exaggerations in an order to drum up sympathy (and a possible dropping of charges) for CeCe.

    If the popular argument is that CeCe was acting out against inflammatory language, I don’t see why the use of inflammatory language to defend her is an optimal choice (or an ethical one).

  173. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    ^

    But I think there are two separate duties to retreat: one at the outset before the actual violence begins, and one during the actual fight before you actually injure the person in alleged self-defense. I’m not saying the second wouldn’t apply; my point was that it’s only the instigator who seems, at least from that case, to have such a duty at the outset.

  174. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

    Q Grrl, could you provide links for your sources on the eyewitness accounts? I was unfamiliar with some of the facts you mentioned.

  175. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

    Eyewitness reports have him initiating the verbal assault, but not the physical assault, and they put the initiation of the physical assault on the woman who was with Schmidt. Most reports say that CeCe’s group outnumbered Schmidt and his female friend by a 3:1 ratio. Most eyewitness reports also say that Schmidt appeared to be stabbed when he was pulling CeCe’s group off of his female friend.

    Links, please? I don’t have time to googling for eyewitness accounts.

  176. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    In any event, this “withdraw or forfeit” doctrine is clearly inapplicable to Ms. McDonald, who was not the person who precipitated or initiated either the initial incident, or the ensuing violence. Your argument is entirely misplaced.

    This might all be true. But we don’t know. Eyewitness reports describe CeCe’s group as being 6-7 strong, with Schmidt and his female companion being the other party. CeCe’s group crossed the street… and none of us sitting at our computers can safely judge whether this was an attempt on CeCe’s part to mitigate damages, or if it was perceived by Schmidt and friend, as an escalation.

    And that’s why we have trials.

  177. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

    @Donna
    Ah, well then I think we probably disagree less than I thought. The reasonable duty to retreat before employing the deadly force was what I was referring to. However, I cannot find any source to suggest it’s limited in any way, i.e. that it wouldn’t apply at the outset.

  178. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    Do your own homework DonnaL. I don’t have the time to placate your lack of curiosity. It’s all out there. Court records. Police reports. Newspaper reports.

  179. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    Also, Donna — your standard for proof that Schmidt was a “neo-Nazi” was your impassioned opinion. So, yeah. I’m so not going to do your own fact finding missions for you. Lazy intelligence is just that: lazy.

  180. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    Fuck you, Q Grrl; it was the tattooed swastika, and you know it damn well. What do you want as proof, an American Nazi Party membership card? You’re arguing in bad faith. And, by the way, most people — except you — have provided links when they’ve made factual assertions. So nice of you to excuse your own laziness by accusing others of being too lazy to chase down your generalized assertions.

    But if you want to start resorting to personal attacks, let me know, and I’ll keep it in mind for the future.

  181. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    I searched the crime logs/reports for the days in question and I searched under both McDonald’s full name and Schmitz’s full name.

    I was initially curious as to why the woman, who is not named as far as I can see, was not charged with assault.

  182. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    [completely as an aside, did you find anything? was she charged?]

  183. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm |

    OK, I did some googling, and I still challenge you to support your assertions about what “most” eyewitness reports say. Since I doubt you’ve actually read all of the actual witness accounts, as opposed to reports of them in the newspapers. And I saw nothing beyond claims by the police that “witnesses” and/or “one or more witnesses” (without any elaboration) claim that Schmitz was pulling people off the woman who started the fight when he was stabbed. I’ve seen more claims than that asserting that Ms. McDonald was not the person who stabbed him.

  184. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl February 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/crimealert/police_crimealert_2011-06-06%20mpd%20weekly%20highlights

    This is kind of where I started b/c I can’t figure out why the woman involved was not charged with assault.

    I didn’t bookmark anything, so basically I have to weed through my history and that probably won’t happen today.

  185. William
    William February 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    what could she possibly have hoped to accomplish? What good might have come out of that? Do we imagine a group of neo Nazis would be less likely to drunkenly yell slurs in the future because some girl loudly insulted them once?

    Dignity. I know, I know, what good is dignity when a man lies dead blah blah blah. But really, there comes a point when someone just doesn’t have the stomach to tollerate pervasive abuse anymore and needs, for their own sanity, to stand up and challenge it and exert their right to be unmolested and treated like a goddamn human being. Its not about changing the future behavior of neo Nazis (although I’d wager at least some people in that group are likely to hurl slurs at random passers by now that they’ve seen one of their friends killed for it). But part of the good is just standing up and allowing other people to see that you won’t be a victim anymore, that there is a cost associated with abusing you, that harassing you might lead to humiliation or insult or pain.

    Street harassers are bullies. They are weak, scared people who decide to hunt those they perceive to be weaker than themselves because it makes their dicks feel big. Its why abusers abuse, why rapists rape, why cowardly racists shout slurs from moving cars. Its a means of keeping certain kinds of people in their place, below you, so that you feel you’re standing on the firm ground of their shoulders. So standing up and challenging them serves the important purpose of taking away some of their power as well as showing others that what they have done is not acceptable.

    I got a lot of shit from people in high school. I was bullied and made fun of becauseI was an easy target. I was overweight, I didn’t have a lot of friends, I listened to the wrong kind of music and wore the wrong kind of clothes. People felt entitled to say all sorts of things to my face. But a good fight, maybe some strong words, and suddenly people weren’t so bold as to shout things in my face. Standing up matters. Goddamn standing up has been the foundation of every significant civil rights victory in this nation’s history.

    So yeah, maybe CeCe hot her back up and went in hot. They tried to murder police at Stonewall by setting buildings on fire. They carried guns into the State House in California and stood up to police with weapons in their hands in Oakland. Even the peaceful Reverend King broke laws and engaged in civil disobedience. Sometimes standing up to oppression isn’t gentile, sometimes it isn’t legal, sometimes it isn’t pretty. Tough shit, I don’t believe that its the responsibility of oppressed persons to look out for the well being of their oppressors. Nothing CeCe could have said justified a hate crime. From the very moment Schmitz and company decided to attack someone for the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexual orientation I believe, from a moral perspective, that they gave up any right to personal security.

    Look, lets say someone breaks into my home in the middle of the night. I’m not going to burn a lot of brainpower trying to figure out why they’re there or what they’re doing. I’ll give a clear warning to surrender and wait for the police if I have time but, given that people breaking into homes are generally a threat, I’m not going to bend over backwards to protect them. Its reasonable to assume they’re dangerous and fire a shot designed to stop them from being a threat. Why is this relevant? Because we live in a country where hate crimes motivated by racial, sexual, or gender hatred are endemic. From the moment Schmitz started yelling nigger or faggot or whatever vile little insult he thought he had a right to spew in order to make someone else afraid or feel unsafe he created a situation in which a reasonable person might believe they were in danger. The only reasonable point of his speech was to make CeCe and her friends feel unsafe.

    So no, I don’t see the point of walking away.

  186. William
    William February 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

    Yes, it does. That’s why harassment is so effective in controlling public space. Yet, at the end of the day, everyone is still alive.

    You’re saying the lives of harassers trump the voices of their victims.

  187. EG
    EG February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    I didn’t even catch that, William.

    Hell, maybe if we have a few more incidents like this one, instead of telling us, “Don’t get angry, don’t say anything back, you don’t know what he might do,” harassers will start telling each other “Hey, cool it, don’t say things like that–you don’t know what she might do.”

    I wouldn’t mind living in that world. Let them walk around in fear for a change.

  188. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    Wait, this report?

    29XX-27 Av S MURDR a 47YO male and 40YO female were smoking outside the Schooner Bar when a fight broke out. The male was stabbed during a fight and died at the scene. A 23YO male was arrested and booked at HCJ. Investigation is on-going (11-159450). CID case

    If so, the police clearly labelled a trans woman as a man (I wish I was surprised by that)

  189. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    Ben did, in fact, state that he felt Schmidt deserved to lose his life because of his beliefs and statements.

    Actually, no, I said that “no one deserves to die merely because of things they said, no matter how reprehensible,” and that’s what I feel. In fact, I would further add that I don’t think anyone “deserves to die” really, ever, for any reason. I also think that no one deserves to be in prison (certainly not Cece). Nonetheless, sometimes individuals or communities may decide its unfortunately necessary to kill or imprison violent individuals in the interests of defending themselves. This is what CeCe may have done: killed in self-defense (it definitely would have been self-defense, but it may have been one of CeCe’s friends and not CeCe who killed Schmitz.) In any event, whatever she may have done was absolutely NOT murder.

    So that’s the nature of my beliefs on the matter. I have merely also been open about my biases and my feelings of extreme hostility and lack of sympathy toward Schmidt. What he did was not (or should not be) a non-crime. He wasn’t merely expressing an opinion. He was engaging in the emotionally violent street harassment of strangers who had been minding their own business. This is reprehensible and should be illegal as far as I’m concerned. But this does not mean he deserved to die. It does mean I feel no sympathy for him. If you can recognize his basic humanity anyway and feel compassion for him, then I say good for you, genuinely, that’s a indicator of an enlightened perspective. But I’m not going to apologize for what I think is a very human inability to sympathize with someone whom I’d consider a enemy of me, my friends, my family, and everything I value.

    I guess, finally, I do need to clarify my statement “I’m not religious, but you know. . .you reap what you sow.” Like I implied, I am not Jewish or Christian. These are the religions that the idea of “you reap what you sow” is based off of. I do not agree with this religious philosophy. I do not actually believe “you reap what you sow.” Nonetheless, I was indoctrinated into Christian culture so occasionally I think thoughts influenced by this background, just as I will sometimes fear that I’m going to Hell even though I don’t actually believe Hell exists. So I was being emotionally transparent and expressing my conflicted thoughts and feelings around this and describing some of my hateful internal monologue toward Dean Schmidt–thoughts and feelings and monologues that are understandable but I still feel guilty for.

    But I should not have expressed this. This isn’t a group therapy session, this is a forum to build support for CeCe McDonald, and what I said can be quoted out of context to make her supporters look bad.

  190. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    If so, the police clearly labelled a trans woman as a man (I wish I was surprised by that)

    Of course they did. All of the early police and press reports labeled her as a man and used male pronouns, even after it was clear that she’s trans.

    What did you expect? It happens 99% of the time if the person doesn’t have congruent identification, and sometimes even when the person has congruent identification. One of these days I’ll tell the stories about my own encounters with the NYPD before my I was able to change my ID — one turned out quite well; one not so much. Although at least I wasn’t arrested.

  191. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    You’re saying the lives of harassers trump the voices of their victims.

    Um, I’ll say that, absolutely. Vocal harassment does not entitle you to kill. The right not to be killed is greater than the right not to be verbally harassed.

    That’s the law – clearly – and I’ll say that’s what’s right too. In any circumstance where someone’s “voice” is pitted against someone’s life, I’ll say life ought to win every time.

    No manner of verbal expression – even repulsive expression, even harassment – can justify killing.

    Up until that comment, I didn’t even think anyone in this thread would have thought otherwise. Everyone seemed to be arguing that Dean’s assumed role in the violence would be what warranted his death. Have we departed from that?

    And Ben, generally speaking, Dean’s actions in verbally harassing would not be a crime. There might be a civil case that could be brought against him, but courts are very reluctant to penalize actions that don’t cause provable harm. Even pure emotional distress is often limited and scrutinized heavily, because courts are wary of limiting free speech to protect against harm that can’t necessarily be proved.

    In fact, just last year the Supreme Court reviewed a case where the speech was what Jill called “the definition of cruel and evil.” But even she agreed that the free speech concerns were more important in that case. [link for those interested: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-church-protests-are-protected-speech/ ]

  192. Chiara
    Chiara February 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm |

    There’s also another factor in this that’s worth considering.

    CeCe is a trans woman, so her physical strength is closer to that of a man. Yes, I know that her gender means she won’t have the violent tendencies, but to the onlooker it’s going to look like someone with the strength of a man beating a woman, and then Schmidt trying to protect that woman, only to be stabbed.

    Yes, that’s not how it went down obviously. But the police and witnesses are going to see it that way because they don’t have a proper understanding of trans*.

  193. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    You’re saying the lives of harassers trump the voices of their victims.

    I think that the lives of harassers do trump the voices of their victims. Life>voice.

  194. Donna L
    Donna L February 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    CeCe is a trans woman, so her physical strength is closer to that of a man.

    Closer to that of which man, exactly? In fact, you have no possible way of knowing that this is true. Or what her size or strength was compared to the particular woman who attacked her, let alone compared to Mr. Schmitz. Not to mention that if she’d been on hormones for any length of time (I have no idea, and it’s really none of my business or anyone else’s), her upper body strength would probably have significantly decreased. So I don’t know why you would make such an assertion.

  195. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

    @William,

    I almost missed your longer post in response to my question – must have been in mod.

    I can respect your position because our disagreement stems from the fundamental level: You think Dean forfeited his right to life by verbally harassing Cece.

    If this is not a fair summary of your beliefs, I apologize, and please correct me. I’m looking at your quote here:

    From the very moment Schmitz and company decided to attack someone for the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexual orientation I believe, from a moral perspective, that they gave up any right to personal security.

    If that’s what you believe, all your statements are entirely consistent with that logic, and I respect your right to your own opinions.

    I also am extremely grateful that your beliefs are not the law in this country. No matter what the speech, I don’t believe you can ever forfeit your life by expressing beliefs others find repulsive.

    Jill said as much in the post I linked above – as members of a community who often hold views other find repulsive, there’s good reason to be glad that NO view, no matter how abhorrant nor how vehemently expressed, can give up one’s right to live.

  196. KAJ
    KAJ February 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

    Um, I’ll say that, absolutely. Vocal harassment does not entitle you to kill. The right not to be killed is greater than the right not to be verbally harassed.

    That’s the law – clearly – and I’ll say that’s what’s right too. In any circumstance where someone’s “voice” is pitted against someone’s life, I’ll say life ought to win every time.

    No manner of verbal expression – even repulsive expression, even harassment – can justify killing.

    Up until that comment, I didn’t even think anyone in this thread would have thought otherwise. Everyone seemed to be arguing that Dean’s assumed role in the violence would be what warranted his death. Have we departed from that?

    And Ben, generally speaking, Dean’s actions in verbally harassing would not be a crime. There might be a civil case that could be brought against him, but courts are very reluctant to penalize actions that don’t cause provable harm. Even pure emotional distress is often limited and scrutinized heavily, because courts are wary of limiting free speech to protect against harm that can’t necessarily be proved.

    In fact, just last year the Supreme Court reviewed a case where the speech was what Jill called “the definition of cruel and evil.” But even she agreed that the free speech concerns were more important in that case. [link for those interested: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-church-protests-are-protected-speech/ ]

    But this isn’t about free speech. Free speech doesn’t mean that you get to say whatever you want and not face any consequences, and you cannot level a “BUT FREE SPEECH” argument against a private individual.

    And this isn’t about entitlement to kill. I don’t think that anyone is arguing that CeCe was entitled to execute her harassers.

    The question is, if someone harasses you, and you respond to that harassment, and your harassers escalate the argument to physical violence, if you can then claim self defense for your actions once physical violence has broken out.

    Arguing that someone who responds to harassment verbally, who is then physically assaulted and defends herself, cannot claim self defense for any resulting injury to her harassers, ultimately reinforces the status quo against the marginalized. It says “you have to just take it, because if you respond in any way, and you are attacked for doing so, and someone gets hurt or killed, you will go to jail (or, you know, maybe if you’re so lucky as to live in certain states, we’ll find a way to execute you).” That? Is not just. And it doesn’t implicate free speech concerns, and it doesn’t place speech above lives, unless you’re willing to say anyone who dares to talk back is asking for whatever her harassers decide to do, to the point that she is not legally entitled to defend herself.

    Is that really what you care to argue?

  197. Sergey
    Sergey February 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    @KAJ

    I’d say this is about free speech if I’ve interpretted William’s views correctly, because he said the choice to verbally harass was the point where Dean gave up his right to not be killed. And if that’s a misread of William’s views, then you’re probably right, free speech would be irrelevant here.

    But nothing about the rest of your summary is anything that I’ve been arguing.

    The whole reason I’ve been saying this should go to trial is because the situation isn’t simple. Yes, verbally responding and then having your harassers escalate to physical violence entitles you to defend yourself.

    But not necessarily to kill. There is a legal disctinion, and I think with good reason.

    Killing in self-defense is treated differently from other injuries inflicted in self-defense.

    And like has been stated before, since she did more than simply defend with nondeadly force, there’s more reason to scrutinize her actions. *Not every act of violence against you entitles you to respond by killing.*

    The result, in MN law, is that because she killed in self defense she must be innocent of provocation [possibly including quarreling] and she must not have had any reasonable chance to retreat.

  198. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    What did you expect? It happens 99% of the time if the person doesn’t have congruent identification, and sometimes even when the person has congruent identification. One of these days I’ll tell the stories about my own encounters with the NYPD before my I was able to change my ID — one turned out quite well; one not so much. Although at least I wasn’t arrested.

    Donna — I don’t know what I expected really, I mean, I’m not surprised by it, but it’s particularly abhorrent to actually see it on “paper” like that — and I realize that’s my privilege as a cis person and I’m sorry if I made it sound like I actually expected cops not to be ignorant little assholes. And I’m sorry this is a lived reality for you and other trans people, it’s bullshit.

    My other comment was more meant as asking why anyone’s treating a police report with blatant trans-phobia in it as the absolute truth as to what happened. I guess I was expecting that no one would take too seriously a report that can’t even get pronouns right.

    Hell, maybe if we have a few more incidents like this one, instead of telling us, “Don’t get angry, don’t say anything back, you don’t know what he might do,” harassers will start telling each other “Hey, cool it, don’t say things like that–you don’t know what she might do.”

    I wouldn’t mind living in that world. Let them walk around in fear for a change.

    Neither would I.

  199. Sandy
    Sandy February 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm |

    I think it’s so lovely that people are going out of their way to think of reasons why having a swastika tattoo and shouting racist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs at passers-by might not actually make someone a real, true-blue Nazi thug.

    This, x10.

    Wtf happened to this thread? I like how we’ve moved on from the glaring transphobia and racism in this case and endemic to the system to what Donna describes above, as well as how Cece did a terrible thing, good thing we noted that, and maybe trials should be mandatory and how dare LotusBen feel how he feels about the white supremacist with the swastika tattoo. Gosh, I’m so glad we’re focusing on what’s important here.

    From the moment Schmitz started yelling nigger or faggot or whatever vile little insult he thought he had a right to spew in order to make someone else afraid or feel unsafe he created a situation in which a reasonable person might believe they were in danger.

    Yes. I agree 100%. Between the verbal attack of shouted slurs and the violent physical attack on Cece’s face, ffs, of course they believed they were in danger, and of course she and her friends had a right to defend themselves. And I don’t think you can say much about the fact that the person who died was not the person who first attacked her. I’m sure the melee was violent and confusing for someone who’d just been injured as she was, and if I were a juror I wouldn’t blame her for what happened. Accidental deaths happen in altercations like this.

    The point here is the issue of fairness: it’s that white, cis persons in very similar self-defense situations have gotten an understanding nod, a pat on the back and a pass, but now with Cece, the prosecutor is choosing to try to press murder or manslaughter charges. Sure, we could send everyone in a situation like this to trial, but that’d be a huge expense and frankly misses the point, which is that the justice system would still be likely to treat Cece unfairly, and the odds would still be stacked high against her as long as racism and transphobia are a part of it.

    And I’m mystified by this idea that by verbally standing up to one’s harassers, you forfeit your right to claim self-defense if they turn violent and you consequently defend yourself in the resulting fracas. That is among the stupidest things I have heard this month, and I have heard a bunch of anti-contraception arguments from right-wing snarfblats. Good job.

  200. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 7:27 am |

    @Sandy – “The point here is the issue of fairness: it’s that white, cis persons in very similar self-defense situations have gotten an understanding nod, a pat on the back and a pass, but now with Cece, the prosecutor is choosing to try to press murder or manslaughter charges.”

    Can you please provide examples of your claim?

  201. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 7:30 am |

    Arguing that someone who responds to harassment verbally, who is then physically assaulted and defends herself, cannot claim self defense for any resulting injury to her harassers, ultimately reinforces the status quo against the marginalized. It says “you have to just take it, because if you respond in any way, and you are attacked for doing so, and someone gets hurt or killed, you will go to jail (or, you know, maybe if you’re so lucky as to live in certain states, we’ll find a way to execute you).” That? Is not just. And it doesn’t implicate free speech concerns, and it doesn’t place speech above lives, unless you’re willing to say anyone who dares to talk back is asking for whatever her harassers decide to do, to the point that she is not legally entitled to defend herself.

    Quoted for truth. I’d bold it if blockquoting didn’t automatically boldface text as well.

    This is what this arrest is telling trans people and gay people and black people and all straight,white, cis women as well in the context of our culture: if somebody harasses you, pretend it isn’t happening and ignore them. Of course, then, if he or she escalates the harassment into violence, everyone will ask why you didn’t sense the danger and stand up for yourself earlier. But if you do stand up for yourself, and he/she escalates into violence and you are injured or killed, then it’s your fault for provoking an obviously threatening person, and you should have known better. Of course, if you stand up for yourself and he/she/a member of his/her group escalates into violence, and the harasser or a member of his/her group is injured or killed, even if you are severely wounded, then it’s your fault, because you gave up the right to self-defense when you responded to the harassment, but your harasser didn’t give up the right to not be harmed even when he/she/a member of the group participated in the harassment.

    It’s not just a matter of saying that harassers’ lives trump victims’ voices. It’s a matter of saying that the right to harass somebody trumps the right to stand up for yourself against a harasser.

  202. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 8:37 am |

    “This is what this arrest is telling trans people and gay people and black people and all straight,white, cis women as well in the context of our culture: if somebody harasses you, pretend it isn’t happening and ignore them. Of course, then, if he or she escalates the harassment into violence, everyone will ask why you didn’t sense the danger and stand up for yourself earlier. But if you do stand up for yourself, and he/she escalates into violence and you are injured or killed, then it’s your fault for provoking an obviously threatening person, and you should have known better.”

    This is an inherently disengenuous statement. The act of walking away doesn’t ignore the harassment but it acknowledges the potential for violence and makes one’s personal safety of paramount importance. If a person decides that confrontation is more important than personal safety, that is entirely their decision to make, but they must also accept the risks inherent in that decision.

    There is a difference though when standing up for yourself in a situation where you have no other viable recourse. In that case, once again personal safety is of paramount importance, and you do what is necessary to stay alive and avoid bodily harm.

    “Of course, if you stand up for yourself and he/she/a member of his/her group escalates into violence, and the harasser or a member of his/her group is injured or killed, even if you are severely wounded, then it’s your fault, because you gave up the right to self-defense when you responded to the harassment, but your harasser didn’t give up the right to not be harmed even when he/she/a member of the group participated in the harassment.

    You always have the inherent right to defend yourself from harm. full stop. You however, lose the legal claim to self defense when you become a voluntarily ACTIVE participant.

  203. Chiara
    Chiara February 16, 2012 at 8:47 am |

    The percentage of trans people who are murdered, especially trans women, is much greater than the percentage of cis people who are murdered.

    A cis person may have the luxury of walking away from some harassers and retaining their right to claim self defense. But a trans woman may see standing her ground as the option least likely to get her killed or seriously harmed. Trans people are assaulted regularly simply for being who they are. Your stupid advice like ‘be unprovocative’ and ‘it’s your duty to retreat’ is unfuckinghelpful.

  204. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 9:13 am |

    I just want to make sure I’m perfectly clear on the argument that’s being made here:

    I’m walking down the street one evening, minding my own business, when a bunch of drunken frat boys start harassing me. Finally one of them says something extremely provoking, say, something about fucking my ass, and calls me a jewbitch. I stop, turn around, and say “What the fuck makes you think you can talk to me like that, asshole?” He continues with his stream of threatening, anti-semitic, misogynist bullshit. I tell him to shut his douchbag mouth. He pulls out a switchblade and stabs me in the cheek. A melee ensues, and in my attempt not get stabbed again, I kill him (maybe, in this hypothetical situation, I have a gun).

    Are you seriously telling me that I lost the legal right to self-defense because I had the unmitigated gall to stop walking and call him on his bullshit? Because in that case, yes, you are prioritizing the voices of harassers over the voices of their victims. And you are either incorrect, and completely misunderstanding the law, or you are incorrect, and the law is on the side of harassers and needs to be changed. Either way, the argument is a load of bullshit.

  205. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 9:18 am |

    So, if Cece had decided to respond with violence, and had pulled out an axe and run at Schmitz, and he had killed her in his attempt to defend himself (maybe he has a gun, in this scenario), would he have lost the legal right to self-defense because he’d had the option of not talking to her to begin with?

    If that’s the case, it would be a good thing to know next time some asshole on the street harasses me or my friends.

  206. Sandy
    Sandy February 16, 2012 at 9:33 am |

    @Jesus_marley – it says so in the OP. 3 of them in the past year (the past year alone, presumably, I’m sure there are more farther back):

    An interesting thing about prosecutor Michael Freeman: in the last year, he’s dropped charges against three people who killed accidentally while fighting for their lives.

    Dean Schmitz and his buddies were screaming slurs, hate speech, and when confronted verbally, physically attacked Cece. Trans people are at a much higher risk for violence and murder than cis people, and as a social justice activist with the lived experience of being a black trans woman, of course Cece would have known it. In her position I’d sure as hell have thought I might be fighting for my life. If this situation doesn’t call for self-defense I’m not sure what would. Obviously it’s terrible someone died, but Cece was the victim of a hate crime. (Actually… legally I’m not sure about that, but as a layperson it sure sounds like a hate crime to me.) Either way I think it’s reasonable, in the half-second after glass was smashed in her face, for her to have believed she was in danger of something much worse.

  207. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    @Chiara – “A cis person may have the luxury of walking away from some harassers and retaining their right to claim self defense. But a trans woman may see standing her ground as the option least likely to get her killed or seriously harmed. Trans people are assaulted regularly simply for being who they are. Your stupid advice like ‘be unprovocative’ and ‘it’s your duty to retreat’ is unfuckinghelpful.”

    The point is that Cece DIDN’T EVEN TRY. This is the point I am trying to get across. This isn’t a case where she tried to disengage from the harassment and it escalated despite her attempts to leave, she had a duty to try to leave first and if that failed THEN move to the next best option. She totally eschewed that part and went straight to confrontation.

    @Sandy – “An interesting thing about prosecutor Michael Freeman: in the last year, he’s dropped charges against three people who killed accidentally while fighting for their lives.”

    This doesn’t answer the question I asked. In any of the three cases mentioned, did the people who defended themselves have an opportunity to leave the situation before the violence escalated? and if they did indeed have an opportunity to leave, did they choose not to exercise it and move to confrontation as a first choice? If this last scenario is what happened in those other three cases, then you can present them as relevant, otherwise, sorry, no dice.

    @EG – “So, if Cece had decided to respond with violence, and had pulled out an axe and run at Schmitz, and he had killed her in his attempt to defend himself (maybe he has a gun, in this scenario), would he have lost the legal right to self-defense because he’d had the option of not talking to her to begin with?

    Yes and no. Schmitz would have an inherent right to defend himself from Cece. Full stop. However, since he was the initiator of the encounter and made no attempt to indicate that he was withdrawing and wanted peace, then he would not be able to claim self defense. In this hypothetical, had he sued for peace and Cece ignored him then he would be able to claim self defense.

  208. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 10:48 am |

    Damnit. I responded to all of you Sandy, EG, and Chiara but it’s in Mod.

  209. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |

    Also William I responded to you (post 160) but it too is still in mod.

  210. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am |

    I disagree with the privileging of nonviolence as the highest value here.

    I’ll be clear, offensive though some people will find it: I don’t value the life of the guy with a swastika tattoo all that highly. If he provoked a confrontation by hate speech, and he ended up dead, I don’t really need to know the details to know that I’ll accept any facially plausible claim that exculpates the person he threw the hate speech at. And my reason for that is basically pour encourager les autres. If some folks find that morally unsustainable, I don’t give a shit. I’m fine with being biased, particular to the circumstances and result-oriented.

  211. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    @TMM – “If he provoked a confrontation by hate speech, and he ended up dead, I don’t really need to know the details to know that I’ll accept any facially plausible claim that exculpates the person he threw the hate speech at.”

    This is so far beyond offensive as to enter the realm of enormity. By this reasoning you are advocating for the deaths of people who have essentially done nothing more than speak. Granted they may have uttered some truly reprehensible things but death for speech? Really? That sounds almost trollish, and I pray to all that is considered holy that it is indeed a bad and very tasteless joke.

  212. Donna L
    Donna L February 16, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    For all you people who are insisting that by verbally responding to verbal harassment rather than running away, before any violence erupted, CeCe and her friends forfeited their right to claim self-defense regardless of what happened thereafter and regardless of the fact that they were then physically attacked, I’ll say i t again: you are wrong. Completely. Go read the excerpts from the controlling Minnesota Supreme Court opinion, quoted in comment No. 165, particularly the part I boldfaced. And then just stop the nonsense.

    I can’t help wondering if some of you would be so persistent in trying to think of specious reasons why Ms. McDonald might be guilty of “murder” and might not be able to claim self-defense, and why Mr. Swastika Tattoo might not be a Real Nazi, if she weren’t a trans woman. Q Grrl, at least, has a history here of being dismissive about the importance of trans issues — “who cares about the MWMF,” etc. — so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s repulsive.

  213. William
    William February 16, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    Sergey

    Um, I’ll say that, absolutely. Vocal harassment does not entitle you to kill. The right not to be killed is greater than the right not to be verbally harassed.

    Except, if you’ve even the slightest degree of historical or cultural context, you know that we’re not just talking about verbal harassment. How is an oppressed person supposed to know when being called a nigger or a faggot is just someone being incredibly cruel rather than the opening salvo of a hate crime? How are they supposed to differentiate between the two when words like that are so often the precursor to violence?

    Or are they to simply take it, hope for the best, and slink away because their comfort comes second the lives of someone who might die because being stood up to makes them violent.

    You’re bending over backwards to create a legal standard which demands submission from victims.

    No manner of verbal expression – even repulsive expression, even harassment – can justify killing.

    What about a threat?

    We’re looking at language here, and language is a difficult beast. If I say “I’m going to murder you” thats a pretty clear threat which might warrant self defense. Now perhaps I could make the threat more colorfully and say “I’m gonna make sure you sleep with the fishes!” Thats still a clear threat and no reasonable person would interpret what I said to mean that I’m going to install an aquarium in your bedroom.

    Now imagine, for a moment, that you lived in a world in which, for generations, the word “widget” was a slur used against your people that very often accompanied violence. Would calling you a widget be a threat?

    Thats why Schmitz’s language is more than just vile or repulsive but protected speech. What he said, the manner in which it was said, and the conduct which followed it transformed his speech from simple street harassment to a threat of violence. If CeCe hadn’t been attacked, what she would have done would have been murder, but once slurs escalated to violence I just don’t think its reasonable to expect someone to play nice when they think they’re about to be murdered.

    In fact, just last year the Supreme Court reviewed a case where the speech was what Jill called “the definition of cruel and evil.” But even she agreed that the free speech concerns were more important in that case.

    I agree, but if a bunch of Westboro protesters are at a funeral howling about how god hates dead soldiers, then one of their number tosses a firebomb after someone calls him an asshole, then someone who got burned charges the guy who threw the bomb, then the rest of the protestors physically defend their bomber and, in the process, a guy who didn’t throw the bomb gets hurt…well…I’m not exactly interested in seeing the person who got burned charged with assault.

    there’s good reason to be glad that NO view, no matter how abhorrant nor how vehemently expressed, can give up one’s right to live.

    I agree so long as the expression of a view does not advance to a physical threat. If Schmitz had been standing on a street corner and shouting slurs he would have had every right to do so. But once those slurs crossed over into physical confrontation I feel that his decision to provoke a conflict by engaging in harassment means that he loses certain protections. Look, if I pick a fight with you I can’t argue self defense if you end up dying. The same ought to apply here. Schmitz and his friends started the fray at every step in the process, why is the sole responsibility to act like a human being on CeCe? Why is she expected to walk away rather than him. She didn’t begin the verbal altercation, neither her nor her friends escalated it into a physical one. All she did was respond to harassment, get stabbed in the face, and then maybe (at absolute worst and giving as much credit as possible to someone with a swastika tattoo who had been shouting slurs a moment earlier) misperceive who was trying to kill her.

    Past my expiration date

    I think that the lives of harassers do trump the voices of their victims. Life>voice.

    So, to be clear, you’re arguing that it is the responsibility of a victim to take abuse and walk away rather than challenge their harassers because the harasser might become violent in response? You’re arguing that oppressed persons should tolerate abuse just in case their abusers get violent and get themselves hurt in the process?

  214. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    I think it is quite clear from the context that I did not mean to joke. If there was any confusion, I remove it: I was not joking.

    I am not interested in an argument because I am not trying to persuade you and you cannot persuade me. I joined this discussion simply to state my position.

  215. Donna L
    Donna L February 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Don’t be an ass, Mr. Marley. “Nothing more than speak?” He and his little group did way more than that; even Q Grrl doesn’t claim to have found an eyewitness statement asserting that Ms. McDonald and her friends began the physical violence. Schmitz et al. were the aggressors in every sense of the word, and there’s no legal doctrine whatsoever that I’m aware of suggesting that someone defending themselves against a group attack is required to make fine distinctions among the individual attackers, in the heat of the moment, in terms of striking back only against the particular individual who struck you, responding blow for blow in accordance with Marquess of Queensberry rules. The law can indeed be an ass, but it isn’t entirely devoid of common sense and practical experience. These legal principles were already being developed, and had been for a long time, back when Thomas Cromwell was a young tough brawling on the streets of London 500 years ago.

  216. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    @ Donna – “I can’t help wondering if some of you would be so persistent in trying to think of specious reasons why Ms. McDonald might be guilty of “murder” and might not be able to claim self-defense, and why Mr. Swastika Tattoo might not be a Real Nazi, if she weren’t a trans woman. Q Grrl, at least, has a history here of being dismissive about the importance of trans issues — “who cares about the MWMF,” etc. — so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s repulsive.”

    I will go on record to say that I really couldn’t care less if she was trans, cis, white, black, native, had 3 superfluous nipples, or two heads, I would approach this scenario in the very same way every damn time.

    “Don’t be an ass, Mr. Marley. “Nothing more than speak?” He and his little group did way more than that; even Q Grrl doesn’t claim to have found an eyewitness statement asserting that Ms. McDonald and her friends began the physical violence.”

    As for this, I was responding to TMM in the general sense and not specifically to this case. I was responding to his assertion that speech alone is enough to warrant a death sentence. So your entire diatribe against my assertion was unnecessary.

  217. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    Jesus marley, you have misstated what I said. I said:
    “If he provoked a confrontation by hate speech, and he ended up dead, I don’t really need to know the details to know that I’ll accept any facially plausible claim that exculpates the person he threw the hate speech at. ”

    I’ll repeat: when one who provokes hate speech dies in an ensuing confrontation, I’ll accept any plausible claim that exculpates the person who was initially targeted by the hate speech.

    Your assertion that my assertion was that “speech alone is enough to warrant a death sentence” is a plain mistatement of my comment. It is simply not what I said.

  218. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    @TMM – “I’ll repeat: when one who provokes hate speech dies in an ensuing confrontation, I’ll accept any plausible claim that exculpates the person who was initially targeted by the hate speech.

    Your assertion that my assertion was that “speech alone is enough to warrant a death sentence” is a plain mistatement of my comment. It is simply not what I said.”

    So if some random person calls me a “dirty drunken indian”, I can stab them in the heart and say he deserved it? I reject that on principle.

  219. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    I second Thomas. Pour encourager les autres indeed. Harassing women? Bashing gay and trans people? Groping women? Let me shed a tear for the damages that your assholery might incur. I’m sure I can find one if I dig around long enough



    Nope. Coming up completely dry.

    I’d also like to second Donna. I have never before on any feminist site seen anybody trying to rescue the honor of a gay/trans-basher with a fucking swastika tattoo or try to figure out how a woman defending herself against an attack isn’t really acting in self-defense.

    Normally, I roll with the punches in comments, and I always have, and I figure that if others can’t do the same, they can find another website. Even so, this is some anti-trans bullshit right here, and is exactly what people who do not wish to describe themselves as “feminists” mean when they talk about creating a hostile environment for for trans people and black people.

  220. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    Again, you show an incapacity to engage with what I actually said. if you cannot engage with what I actually said, I will not engage with you at all.

  221. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

    @TMM – “Again, you show an incapacity to engage with what I actually said. if you cannot engage with what I actually said, I will not engage with you at all.”

    How am I not now? As you described, in my hypothetical situation, I am the victim of hate speech from some random asshole. In the resulting confrontation he gets stabbed in the heart and dies. How is this any different from the scenario you presented?

  222. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    The requirement of a facially plausible defense. I said I’d accept a facially plausible account that was exculpatory. You seem insistent on reading that out.

  223. matlun
    matlun February 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    Again, you show an incapacity to engage with what I actually said. if you cannot engage with what I actually said, I will not engage with you at all.

    I definitely read your post in the same way as Jesus_marley. I thought this was pretty clearly what you were saying.

  224. matlun
    matlun February 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    To clarify: “… accept any plausible claim …” sounds like a very weak qualification. It is hard to see how this would not be met in a practice.

  225. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    What then would be acceptable?

  226. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

    Exactly what I explained. I’m not interested in engaging with you further; I’ve stated my position and corrected your mischaracterization. We’re done.

  227. Sandy
    Sandy February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    I have to admit, I’m really struggling with the value of life on this one too. I really, truly want to believe in the inherent value of all human life. But some people, by virtue of being terrible people, make it hard to feel any empathy, especially when they are the agents of their own demises. Today in an online column I read a sentence or two about a young rapist and would-be bomber who accidentally blew himself up while making an explosive, and it’s difficult for me to do more than nod at the poetic justice of that and move on. One less rapist and wannabe bomber in the world doesn’t strike me as a grievous net loss.

    But that’s an extreme example. All Dean S. did was yell slurs and start some shit that led to his death. Did he deserve to die for yelling slurs? Did the woman who stabbed Cece in the face deserve to die for the assault she committed? Of course not, and no one has said otherwise. A violent, unnecessary death by brawling is always gruesome and sad; there are almost certainly people who will miss Dean even though, based on what we know of him, I personally think he was a turd.

    I mean… Dean and his friend(s) yelled hate speech at a group of people passing them by, then when approached his friend committed a violent assault. I don’t like violence and I don’t think anyone deserves to die by it. But with their actions they created a chain of events that definitely invited the final result of a senseless death. And if one of the participants in the fight was going to die, I’m glad it wasn’t Cece or one of her friends, who responded to the initial hate speech in the peaceful tradition of the best of social justice, and did not yell hate speech or start a violent physical altercation.

    So while a pointless death is always tragic, it’s difficult for me to muster up much empathy for the homophobic white supremacist here, or feel very sorry about his not being in the world anymore.

  228. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

    @TMM – “Exactly what I explained. I’m not interested in engaging with you further; I’ve stated my position and corrected your mischaracterization. We’re done.”

    That is unfortunate. Your initial post was vague so I provided my own interpretation in an attempt to clarify which you called mischaracterization. So I asked you for specifics and yet you refuse to do so. I seriously do want to know what you would consider a plausible defense…

  229. Jesus_marley
    Jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

    @Sandy – “I’m glad it wasn’t Cece or one of her friends, who responded to the initial hate speech in the peaceful tradition of the best of social justice, and did not yell hate speech or start a violent physical altercation.”

    I am not trying to be confrontational here, but do you have proof of what Cece’s (and her friends) verbal response was? Are there any witness accounts of what she said or is this just an assumption?

  230. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    jesus_marley, what would be acceptable would be:

    So if some random person calls me a “dirty drunken indian”

    and you tell them to shut up, or ask why they think they can talk to you like that, and then someone they’re with smashed a bottle across your face, then

    I can stab them in the heart and say he deserved it?

    if I’m reading Thomas right. You missed key parts of what happened though, like the serious facial wound part. (and likely William’s comment @ 212, it seems to have been in mod-queue before)

    I’d also like to second Donna. I have never before on any feminist site seen anybody trying to rescue the honor of a gay/trans-basher with a fucking swastika tattoo or try to figure out how a woman defending herself against an attack isn’t really acting in self-defense.

    Also, third’ing Donna on that one, wtf?

    (Donna, my reply to your response to my previous question is stuck in mod-queue, I’m not ignoring your question)

  231. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm |

    So, to be clear, you’re arguing that it is the responsibility of a victim to take abuse and walk away rather than challenge their harassers because the harasser might become violent in response? You’re arguing that oppressed persons should tolerate abuse just in case their abusers get violent and get themselves hurt in the process?

    Nope.

  232. chava
    chava February 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    You know, even if we think there “should” be a trial–there are any number of humane solutions here that were not employed. Letting her go home on a reasonable bail, getting a timely and secure trial date, and oh, NOT PUTTING HER IN SOLITARY.*

    I’m not very erudite re: law, but it seems to me that most cases never GO to trial, and that it would have been fairly simple to make this easier on all concerned.

  233. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    Which is to say, no, that’s not what I’m saying.

  234. Sandy
    Sandy February 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

    I am not trying to be confrontational here, but do you have proof of what Cece’s (and her friends) verbal response was? Are there any witness accounts of what she said or is this just an assumption?

    There have been several references to witnesses, by commenters as diverse as Q Grrl and by Natilo Paennim @22:

    As has been stated by every reliable witness, Schmitz and his friends DID attack CeCe and her friends.

    It certainly doesn’t sound like Cece and her friends went over just to shout similarly offensive insults at Dean and his friends. If witnesses had heard Cece and company yell hate speech back, I imagine we’d have heard about it. I haven’t independently researched this case, but I’m confident that if there was anything deeply untoward about Cece’s verbal response as described in the witness accounts, Q Grrl would have let us know about it.

    So no, we have no way of knowing precisely what Cece initially said. We know that yes, she eventually responded with hostility and insults were traded. The fact remains that Cece and her friends didn’t start what went down.

  235. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    I’d also like to second Donna. I have never before on any feminist site seen anybody trying to rescue the honor of a gay/trans-basher with a fucking swastika tattoo or try to figure out how a woman defending herself against an attack isn’t really acting in self-defense.

    Normally, I roll with the punches in comments, and I always have, and I figure that if others can’t do the same, they can find another website. Even so, this is some anti-trans bullshit right here, and is exactly what people who do not wish to describe themselves as “feminists” mean when they talk about creating a hostile environment for for trans people and black people.

    Yeah, it really is pretty demoralizing. I normally roll with the punches, too, and I find Feministe to be pretty entertaining. Even when people say stupid shit, they normally drop it or apologize, or eventually get banned, or just keep going, but everyone gangs up on them and mocks them so mercilessly and effectively that no one reading the comment thread could possibly take their stupid views seriously. But somehow this has evolved into a two-sided debate with one of the sides cravenly standing with a Neo-Nazi abuser and the racist and transphobic legal system that is seeking “justice” for him by torturing and continuing to abuse his victim. And they are arguing their case tirelessly, and they are arguing it earnestly, complete with disgusting ass-covering cavets about how “but, of course, Neo-Nazis are still kinda jerks” and “yup, justice is being served–they did go overboard with the whole solitary confinement thing though.” Seriously. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I know you don’t care, and me saying this will have no effect on what you choose to do, but please. Just stop. You can go anywhere in the world you like and find tons of people who will happily agree with you and riff off you with on this. What are you trying to accomplish here? Why?

    This is one comment thread I’m not enjoying at all. No enjoyment. None. But I can’t just let this shit stand. Seriously, if CeCe can’t get a favorable hearing on Feministe, if people won’t stand up for her here, where will it happen? I just can’t believe this. Fucking disgusting.

    Luckily there really are tons of people standing up for her here. I just can’t believe this has become a debate though. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect this to happen on this thread. Pay day for me is tomorrow, and I’m going to try to donate at least $50 to her cause, which is a lot for me as I make $9 an hour. So eat that you fucks. Free CeCe McDonald.

  236. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

    The fact remains that Cece and her friends didn’t start what went down.

    She didn’t start it, but she sure finished it.

    And the latter fact is why there needs to be a trial, while the former fact is why that trial should end in a ruling of “self-defense, go on home.”

  237. William
    William February 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

    She didn’t start it, but she sure finished it.

    And the latter fact is why there needs to be a trial, while the former fact is why that trial should end in a ruling of “self-defense, go on home.”

    So we go through the motions, bankrupt a poor woman, and hope against hope that the jury doesn’t have enough racists or transphobics on it to make her go through the whole process again? Oh, and in the meantime put her in a jail where she is at incredible risk of being a victim of violence because she smoked pot?

    In a perfect world I get the call for a trial, but this ain’t it and some balancing needs to be done. CeCe doesn’t appear to be a general threat to the community, Schmitz pretty clearly started a fight he lost, a fair trial is pretty clearly not going to happen (especially given what we’ve already seen). Whats the purpose of the dog and pony show?

    Quite a few years ago I was coming home from a party, trying to hail a cab, and someone tried to mug me. He asked for my wallet, I told him no, he asked again, I told him to go fuck himself or he’d get hurt, he took a swing at me, and he got hurt. I was a lot bigger than my attacker, probably close to ten years older, and almost right away it was clear that he didn’t know what he was doing. No one died, and I wasn’t stupid enough to stick around waiting for the police (or his friends) to show up, but I’m pretty sure he needed to go to the hospital. What interest would have been served by interrupting my life further and making me go through a trial just to get an obvious self defense verdict? All that would do would be to teach me that, in the future, I should just hand over my wallet because the justice system would be used to punish me for not being a victim.

    Fuck that. I’ve spent too many years of my life being powerless. I’ve been the victim of rape. I’ve been badly abused by schools and doctors. I’ve been threatened and cowed and intimidated for as far back as I can remember and the only thing that kept me from finding a way to just exit the whole damned game was making a decision that I would rather fight than submit. That decision got me out of places people don’t get out of, it earned me a doctorate, it saved my life.

    We live in a world designed, from the bottom up, to force people to submit to oppression or face the consequences of privilege that has been challenged. I get that, its the law. But seriously, fuck the law. Fuck a justice system that would let my rapist walk free because children cannot be believed but would hold CeCe accountable for stabbing the wrong attacker after she’d been called a nigger and a faggot and had her face cut open. Fuck a set of rules designed to make her drop her head and meekly flee those with power who want to kick around the weak. Fuck the false sense of security privileged people get by holding the lives of others ransom in exchange for silence and submission. Fuck “the interests of justice” when those interests come down to “a white guy with a gun permit gets a walk and a black transwoman with a bleeding wound gets a trial.” Fuck a world in which victims are expected to respond to assaults in a way that protects their attackers.

    I hope she doesn’t go to trial but, if she does, I hope a sympathetic person ends up getting pulled for jury duty, lies their asses off to get on, and nullifies.

  238. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    @Ben – “This is one comment thread I’m not enjoying at all. No enjoyment. None. But I can’t just let this shit stand. Seriously, if CeCe can’t get a favorable hearing on Feministe, if people won’t stand up for her here, where will it happen? I just can’t believe this. Fucking disgusting.”

    This type of comment really pisses me off. I can’t help but get the impression that you are saying that any type of critical analysis of this situation is taboo because of Cece’s trans status. That any one who dares to question “the official story” is automatically some kind of trans hating misogynistic troglodyte.
    As far as I am concerned, I am completely neutral in this. I don’t know if she is guilty, I don’t know all the facts in the case. What I do know is that the story that was presented to us has some significant inconsistencies that were being discussed. I understand that these discussions may go into places that may challenge your blind adherence to the belief that she is innocent and that makes you uncomfortable. I get it. No one wants to have to think about things they already know is the Truth. The rest of us though have questions and we feel they are important enough to ask despite how uncomfortable that may make us . Granted, in the grand scheme of things, this whole discussion doesn’t amount to a hill of beans since we are not deciding Cece’s fate, but it allows us to see what is wrong, and what is right and where things can be made better. I’m sorry if not everybody will automatically tow the party line to make you happy but such is life.
    Donating $50 to a cause you believe in is a very noble thing especially when finances are not as good as you would like but please understand that it makes no difference to me one way or the other. Yelling “Eat that you fucks” at me while you savagely donate money to a cause you believe in is well, to be blunt kind of anti climactic. We have a differing opinion on several aspects of this case but that is where it ends for me. your donation to Cece’s cause won’t hurt me or offend me in any way but I applaud your dedication.

  239. Crys T
    Crys T February 17, 2012 at 6:52 am |

    Wow, William. You’re my hero on this thread.

  240. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 7:52 am |

    William, I agree with everything you say. But judging from the pious, self-righteous tenor of so many of the comments on this thread, most or all of them from self-identified progressive, anti-racist, and trans-friendly (ha, ha!) feminists, I have no confidence whatsoever that Ms. McDonald has a chance for a fair trial. I don’t think she has any chance at all. Not unless she can get her case moved to, say, the Bronx, where juries are famous for liking to stick it to the Man. And even then, what with her being trans, who knows?

  241. EG
    EG February 17, 2012 at 7:58 am |

    William is so often my take-no-prisoners hero, that sometimes I forget to mention it and assume it goes without saying.

  242. matlun
    matlun February 17, 2012 at 9:26 am |

    @Donna

    I have no confidence whatsoever that Ms. McDonald has a chance for a fair trial

    This is surely a valid consideration, but is this not a general issue for absolutely any situation where a black and trans person were to end up at trial?

    I do not really understand the complaints that people have been defending Schmitz in this thread as no one is disputing that he was a nasty piece of work.

  243. Sandy
    Sandy February 17, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    William, that was tremendously forceful and well put.

    And word unto this:

    judging from the pious, self-righteous tenor of so many of the comments on this thread, most or all of them from self-identified progressive, anti-racist, and trans-friendly (ha, ha!) feminists, I have no confidence whatsoever that Ms. McDonald has a chance for a fair trial.

    I expected a show of support for her from this thread, because, you know, the facts of the damn case. Instead a lot of the comments have been slightly snide, brushing off the built-in injustice, missing the point by miles. It’s really left me at a loss.

  244. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    Slow clap for William. The experience of being seriously bullied, IME, either makes one side relentlessly with the bullied, or suck up endlessly to power.

  245. William
    William February 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

    I do not really understand the complaints that people have been defending Schmitz in this thread as no one is disputing that he was a nasty piece of work.

    Lemme break it down for you. All those posts up above where people are talking about not knowing all the facts, going on and on about how it wasn’t Schmitz who stabbed her in the face, talking with great seriousness about the duty to flee and agonizing over the exact legal definition of self defense, introducing the idea that maybe a guy shouting racial slurs had to get a swastika tattoo to survive in prison and isn’t really a racist, all the mental gymnastics designed to find some way where CeCe is a criminal? Thats defending Schmitz. Throwing out a “he was total asshole BUT….” disclaimer is just lipstick on the pig.

  246. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm |

    Thanks, William. Well put, as always. This thread has been mystifying to me.

  247. matlun
    matlun February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Lemme break it down for you. All those posts up above where people are talking about not knowing all the facts, going on and on about how it wasn’t Schmitz who stabbed her in the face

    I guess I see a difference between defending his right not to murdered and defending him as a person. The principle is much, much more important than Schmitz as a person.

    The discussion is not about whether Schmitz was a good person and it never has been. It is a more fundamental discussion about principle: When is the use of deadly force justified? Is it so obvious that it was justified in this case that Cece should go free without further investigation?

    You and many others answer the last question with yes, and I and many others disagree, but the discussion is not about whether Schmitz “was in the right” or if his behavior was in any way defensible. Again: No one has been defending him as a person.

  248. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    @William – “Lemme break it down for you. All those posts up above where people are talking about not knowing all the facts, going on and on about how it wasn’t Schmitz who stabbed her in the face, talking with great seriousness about the duty to flee and agonizing over the exact legal definition of self defense, introducing the idea that maybe a guy shouting racial slurs had to get a swastika tattoo to survive in prison and isn’t really a racist, all the mental gymnastics designed to find some way where CeCe is a criminal? Thats defending Schmitz.”

    Why does this have to be a zero sum game? why does it have to be one is completely innocent and one is completely guilty? it sounds to me that everybody in this fracas carries some degree of guilt with them. As for defending Schmitz, the argument as far as I can tell was about labelling him a neo-nazi as opposed to merely a racist. As much as I will get lambasted for this, not all racism and sexism and homophobia is Hate but rather it can also be attributed to ignorance. While one is no less distasteful than the other, they are not the same in terms of motivation. Neo -nazi carries with it a much more intense and intentional Hate as opposed to casual ignorant racist remarks. Again both are wrong but one could be seen as more wrong.
    I’m rambling now but the point I’m trying to make is that you see this in very specific terms of Cece being innocent . full stop. Many of us here see a more nuanced interpretation and have legitimate questions. It isn’t sexist, or racist, or homo or trans phobic to ask these questions and to want answers.

  249. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

    Addendum – I have another post locked in moderation directed at LotusBen. I don’t know, it seems every post I make that’s more than 2 paragraphs get filtered. weird.

  250. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

    ^
    Don’t take it personally, I think it’s been happening to everyone lately.

    More than two paragapaphs, more than one block quote, or any four letter word, seems to be enough.

  251. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    Donna, I think my double block quote reply to you is really stuck in mod, so let me summarize — my question about pronouns was my cis privilege showing, and I’m sorry that that which stunned me is a lived reality for you and other trans* people.

    Throwing out a “he was total asshole BUT….” disclaimer is just lipstick on the pig.

    *claps* well put, and that comment @ 236 is just…brilliant…

  252. Li
    Li February 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    As for defending Schmitz, the argument as far as I can tell was about labelling him a neo-nazi as opposed to merely a racist. As much as I will get lambasted for this, not all racism and sexism and homophobia is Hate but rather it can also be attributed to ignorance. While one is no less distasteful than the other, they are not the same in terms of motivation. Neo -nazi carries with it a much more intense and intentional Hate as opposed to casual ignorant racist remarks.

    Who gets a fucking swastika permanently inked onto their body out of ignorance? Are you seriously suggesting that Dean Schmitz was unaware that he was getting the most direct symbol of Nazism short of maybe Hitler himself etched into his skin? Because I do not think this is the kind of case we need to give the benefit of the doubt in. If we cannot call someone with a swastika tattoo a neo-Nazi then the term has pretty much lost all meaning.

  253. Sergey
    Sergey February 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    I’ve stopped posting [but still reading] because I think we’ve more or less said enough to figure out where the split is.

    Like, we’ve boiled it down now, enough to know where and why we disagree. I don’t think anyone who’s still engaging is confused about the law or the facts, and that basically leaves principles.

    And I think a couple people have basically stated where the difference in principles is, and it boils down to how you feel about the value life.

    William said outright that it was Dean’s choice to shout nasty things that gave up his right not to be killed. That’s the difference between him and me, right there. And all his other opinions make sense in light of that, and if I shared his view on that one issue I’d be arguing his side on every other point.

    Sandy said too, that this case presents a struggle for our principles about the value of life. As easy as it is to say in the abstract that all human life has value, cases like this test the extremes of that idea.

    But I think that difference of attitude pretty much explains it all – the fact that Dean didn’t start it, or that he didn’t cut her face, or that we don’t know what role in the violence he actually played… they’re paramount to me and jesus_marley, but they’re convenient excuses for William or EG.

    Which makes sense – when you weigh what’s most important, if you don’t start from the point that Dean’s life and Cece’s life have equal value, you don’t wind up in the same place.

    Anyone think I’m off base here? I think that idea can pretty much explain all our differences – I’ll say outright I think Cece’s life and Dean’s have equal value. That’s my starting point.

    I think William would disagree, and I respect his opinion. Anyone else want to weigh in though? Does anyone think that some other conflict or division is driving our differences in opinion?

  254. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    @sergey – I’ll agree with your assessment and I’ll weigh in as well that I share your starting point.

    @Li – “Who gets a f (edit) ing swastika permanently inked onto their body out of ignorance? Are you seriously suggesting that Dean Schmitz was unaware that he was getting the most direct symbol of Nazism short of maybe Hitler himself etched into his skin?”

    It was stated in an earlier post that many men in prison join gangs in order to stay alive. It is entirely probable that Schmitz did at least one stint in prison and got his tattoo , not out of a sense of solidarity with the Nazi party, but out of a sense of necessity to keep his own hide relatively intact.

  255. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    the fact that Dean didn’t start it

    What? How do you know he didn’t start the entire damn thing in terms of engaging in racist/transphobic harassment?

    [Epithets of my own deleted -- I almost got a little carried away there!]

    I think Cece’s life and Dean’s have equal value

    Sorry, I don’t have one single tear to shed for him. If one of the two of them was going to die, I’d pick him over CeCe 100 times out of 100. Every Nazi, neo- or otherwise, in the whole damn world can just drop dead and it’s fine with me. If I were still capable of doing such things in the first place, I wouldn’t piss on someone like him if he were on fire.

    And stop with the ludicrous speculation about maybe he wasn’t really a Nazi because maybe he was in prison (no doubt for some non-white supremacist crime), and maybe he had to get a swastika tattoo to survive prison. Please. As someone said, maybe he’s a Jainist. It seems about as likely.

    Once was way more than enough; unless you have some evidence it’s just apologism and excuse-making, and it amazes me that you’re so obtuse that you can’t even see it.

  256. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    Why the fuck are these asshat posts allowed to stand?

    These are all the same tired fucking arguments as any rape apologia, and I have a hard time believing that this many rape apologist posts would be allowed thru moderation or kept up on a thread. How much racist and transphobic shit do people get to write before getting their asses banned?

    There is not one worthwhile idea being forwarded by these assclowns. All it does is add to the daily violence and oppression we gotta wade through. All it does is reinforce to trans* people and POC that their well-being is not valued here.

  257. matlun
    matlun February 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

    I’ll say outright I think Cece’s life and Dean’s have equal value. That’s my starting point.

    I will try to keep this post short in the hope it will get out of moderation in a reasonable amount of time: I think this is nonsense. Equal value to whom? What do you even mean with the value of a person?

  258. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    You know what? Fuck this shit. I answered a question and I get shit on for it. I get that you might not like the topic and the fact that some people want more out of this discussion than just “he’s a white racist asshole so he deserved to die”.

  259. Li
    Li February 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    Because it is obviously an unreasonable presumption to make that someone with a swastika tattoo who goes around in a group shouting hate speech is probably a neo-Nazi. We should definitely give weight to your prison gang hypothetical, because it is supported by evidence.

  260. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

    cont’d – but it’s no reason to shout us down for asking questions. seriously, I wonder if you’re really no better than he was by silencing those you feel are beneath you. You just use different insults and have a bigger gang.

  261. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    “Because it is obviously an unreasonable presumption to make that someone with a swastika tattoo who goes around in a group shouting hate speech is probably a neo-Nazi. We should definitely give weight to your prison gang hypothetical, because it is supported by evidence.”

    Stop twisting my words. I answered a question. I made no assertions, none whatsoever that he was not a neo-nazi. I simply provided a probable reason, when asked as to how a person could get a swastika tattoo and NOT be a neo-nazi. Do not presume to insert extra meaning into what I say to support your own arguments.

  262. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    “Because it is obviously an unreasonable presumption to make that someone with a swastika tattoo who goes around in a group shouting hate speech is probably a neo-Nazi. We should definitely give weight to your prison gang hypothetical, because it is supported by evidence.”

    Stop twisting my words. I answered a question. I made no assertions, none whatsoever that he was not a neo-nazi. I simply provided a probable reason, when asked as to how a person could get a swastika tattoo and not be a neo-nazi. Do not presume to insert extra meaning into what I say to support your own arguments.

  263. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm |

    Fuck it all to hell…. modded again.

  264. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    I’m done here. pat yourselves on the back. you chased away another reasonable person from your echo chamber.

  265. Li
    Li February 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |

    You know jesus_marley, for someone who’s claiming that they’re being silenced, you sure do say a lot.

  266. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

    Illegitimi non carborundum, IrishUp. I always do my best not to.

    you’re really no better than he was by silencing those you feel are beneath you. You just use different insults and have a bigger gang.

    Mr. Marley demonstrating for all of us how completely out of touch with reality he is. Because clearly trans women (and specifically trans women of color), and their allies, have a bigger gang and have way more power in this world than racist, transphobic, homophobic thugs. We’re all just horrid bullies, aren’t we?

  267. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    *pat himself on back*

    So long, jesus_marley. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Also, to elaborate on what Li was saying, by my count you’ve made 23 posts on this thread and decided to voluntarily leave. . .so it seems a bit strange to say that you’ve been silenced in some way.

    And to build off what Donna said, it’s good to know that criticizing someone for their opinions on a blog comment thread is the same as shouting insults based off their race and gender at them while they are minding their own business on a public sidewalk.

    So goodbye jesus_marley and good riddance.

  268. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

    Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?

    I will pat myself on the back for every jesus_marley we can chase out of here. I’d REALLY party if we could chase them out of mayoral offices, congressional offices, and DA offices, particularly if it’s onto an ice floe.

    Thanks, DonnaL, that’s a good one to remember.

  269. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    OK. now that I got that initial frustration out over the moderating habits of this blog, I’m back. sorry to disappoint some of you.

    @Li – Don’t be snide.

    @Donna – You (as a group) certainly have way more power than me and it certainly appeared you were trying to bring it down on my head for daring to disagree with you. In that respect, yes, you are bullies.

  270. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |

    @ Irish – I find it disturbing that you find it a point of pride to chase away people who approach topics, even distasteful ones, with a desire to understand them without jumping to conclusions. I have made a strong effort to understand beyond what we have been told, and for that I am labelled as transphobic, homophobic, and racist. If I didn’t find the entire notion laughable, I would be insulted as I am a visible minority, who has more bi, gay and trans friends than straight ones.

  271. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

    Oh dang you Marley for faking us out like that. I just had uncorked my bottle of champagne. But I guess there’ll be no celebration today.

  272. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

    So what if people who feel like I do have more power than you in this little corner of the Internet? You have to have control everywhere? It really angers you when you’re outnumbered? Too bad. Now you know how it is for trans people ALL THE TIME in the real world. You obviously don’t have the least clue about what life is like for trans people. Do you have any idea what it was like for Chrishaun McDonald to grow up as a trans girl on the South Side of Chicago? Do you think the was the first time in her life she was harassed and assaulted?

    So you can just go f**k yourself.

  273. Sandy
    Sandy February 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    To be honest… I thought jesus_marley might be trolling. I know, heavy accusation, which is why I didn’t make it, but SO many posts clinging to this idea, wholly unsupported by the evidence at hand, that Cece must have had a role in starting the fight. Surely it can’t be ALL the other group’s fault! You know, the ones screaming the hate speech who witnesses say started the fight?

    So I engaged with the assumption he was arguing in good faith, and it seems he was. Bummer. Because I know they’re out there, but I’d rather not be confronted here by the people who want to believe the best of a slur-shouting racist with a fucking swastika tat and the worst of a black trans woman who stood up for herself when harassed. Give me a troll messing with us for lulz any day of the week.

  274. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    I bet you think I am a Cis white heterosexual male. You do. admit it. It’s the only way you feel you can insult me the way you do and get away with it. Well, you’d be right about the hetero and male part at least. I am a visible minority, and while personally hetero, my friends, and not just some friends or one or two friends but all my friends are gay, and bi, and trans (really), and sex positive, and into some really kinky shit, and I’m fine with all of it. Why? because I treat everyone like a human being but I don’t turn my brain off either and I dare to ask questions. Sometimes I ask uncomfortable questions, sometimes I delve into some really dark places because I want to understand more than I already do. You judging me for that makes you no better in my book than any of the people you accuse of Hate.

  275. Sandy
    Sandy February 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    jesus_marley, I’m not judging you because you want to understand more and delve into dark places. I’m judging you for wanting to presume the best of a dude who was obviously a giant asshole and the worst of the woman he and his friends harassed and assaulted (and who is now being treated cruelly and unfairly by the justice system).

    Also, lol @ the idea that judging you on the internets makes us no better than a racist homophobic street harasser with a swastika tat and his similarly inclined friend who stabbed another woman through the face with some glass. If you really mean that, I think your value system might need some work.

  276. William
    William February 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm |

    Jesus Marley:

    Why does this have to be a zero sum game? why does it have to be one is completely innocent and one is completely guilty? it sounds to me that everybody in this fracas carries some degree of guilt with them.

    Because thats the system we have. Theres no trial thats going to end with “she killed him 30% and he killed himself 70%.” The end of the game here is that CeCe either goes free or she goes to a prison that will probably kill her because Schmitz picked a fight and CeCe had been dehumanized one time too many to just make herself small and keep walking. Thats not justice, thats sending a message.

    I think a different message should be sent.

    As for defending Schmitz, the argument as far as I can tell was about labelling him a neo-nazi as opposed to merely a racist.

    Motherfucker had a swastika tattoo. A swastika tattoo. He had a symbol permanently inked on his body which symbolizes a regime that murdered millions. He’s a neo Nazi. Maybe he was too lazy or stupid to make it to a march, but he has a fucking swastika tattoo. Do you need him on video tape saying “You know, Hitler was a pretty cool guy…”?

    I mean…fuck. Really?

    As much as I will get lambasted for this, not all racism and sexism and homophobia is Hate but rather it can also be attributed to ignorance.

    Not if Schmitz had the History Channel. A SWASTIKA TATTOO! A tattoo…of a swastika. Shit, maybe some homophobia and transphobia (interesting how you’re calling it sexism, though) comes down to ignorance, but that ain’t this, you know?

    Neo -nazi carries with it a much more intense and intentional Hate as opposed to casual ignorant racist remarks.

    Ever gotten a tattoo? Its pretty intentional. Also, Schmitz wasn’t making “casual ignorant racist remarks,” he was shouting a specific group of slurs at people with a group of friends who then became violent when challenged. This isn’t a guy who accidentally said he got gypped without knowing the etymology of a term.

    It was stated in an earlier post that many men in prison join gangs in order to stay alive. It is entirely probable that Schmitz did at least one stint in prison and got his tattoo , not out of a sense of solidarity with the Nazi party, but out of a sense of necessity to keep his own hide relatively intact.

    See how you’re having to imagine all sorts of things while questioning all of the facts we have in order to find a way where Schmitz isn’t the violent aggressor? Thats called rationalization. I’ll come right out and wonder what it is about you that makes you need to find a scenario in which CeCe is the criminal and Schmitz is the victim. I find it damned suspicious.

    You know what? Fuck this shit. I answered a question and I get shit on for it. I get that you might not like the topic and the fact that some people want more out of this discussion than just “he’s a white racist asshole so he deserved to die”.

    Oh quit your whining and pull on your big boy/girl/whatever pants. You’re behavior is both petulant and entitled. Or, to be crude, allow me to invite you to go fuck yourself while you run on home with your ball because the other kids are being mean.

    , I wonder if you’re really no better than he was by silencing those you feel are beneath you. You just use different insults and have a bigger gang.

    Oh, how cute. “Who’s the real abuser?” Ok then, thanks for clearing it all up for us.

    Look, flameshit, I get that you’re all pissy because you’re afraid some tranny might get uppity and stab you the next time you get drunk and say something stupid, but do you have to be so transparent? I’m done engaging with your shit. Have a nice life and go fuck yourself with a rake.

    It’s the only way you feel you can insult me the way you do and get away with it.

    Clearly he’s not familiar with my work…

    Sergey:

    William said outright that it was Dean’s choice to shout nasty things that gave up his right not to be killed.

    Wrong. I said that, when Dean provoked a conflict which later escalated to violence which his friend initiated he created a situation in which CeCe would rationally feel that her life was in danger and would be entitled to defend herself using deadly force. My point is that, if you pick a fight, you escalated at every level, you initiate violence, and then you end up dead, well…too bad. Under the most unfriendly reading of what happened CeCe mistakenly stabbed the wrong person during a melee.

    But, since you’re having trouble, I’ll be clear. Individuals have a right to stand up for themselves and respond to insults and threats. If those individuals who are insulting or threatening then escalate to violence, self defense is warranted. In other words, the duty to retreat ought to be on the agressors, not on their victims.

    the fact that Dean didn’t start it,

    Got any evidence there that CeCe said something before Schmitz called her a nigger and a faggot or should I just go ahead and ask the same question I asked Jesus Marley?

    or that he didn’t cut her face,

    If he was involved in the melee it doesn’t matter. Fists are dangerous and potentially deadly.

    or that we don’t know what role in the violence he actually played…

    Other than being a direct instigator with a swastika tattoo. I know, thats circumstantial and all, but…you know…swastika tattoo + shouting racial slurs to me implies violent douchebag.

    I’ll say outright I think Cece’s life and Dean’s have equal value. That’s my starting point.

    And I’ll say outright that abusers who instigate violence are worth less than their victims. Shit, if I didn’t have a lot going for me and I thought I could get away with it I would have absolutely no compunctions about killing the man who raped me even though he poses no threat to me now, even though it was more than two decade ago, even though he might have changed or sought help. I just don’t care. His life is, to me, worthless. God only knows what would happen if I found out I was terminally ill tomorrow. I won’t apologize for that, either.

  277. Sandy
    Sandy February 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

    And so we’re clear: I’m not judging you for things you think I’m presuming about you. I’m judging you for your words and arguments.

  278. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    @Sandy – “I’m not judging you because you want to understand more and delve into dark places. I’m judging you for wanting to presume the best of a dude who was obviously a giant asshole and the worst of the woman he and his friends harassed and assaulted (and who is now being treated cruelly and unfairly by the justice system).”

    Let’s be perfectly clear, I am not presuming anything of anybody. I am not saying this guy was an angel because he wasn’t. I am not saying that Cece was an angel either because she wasn’t. I am playing possibilities, I am looking at motivations and actions and asking what really happened. because I sure as shit know that it did not go down the way we are being told it was because it never does. That is just reality.

    “Also, lol @ the idea that judging you on the internets makes us no better than a racist homophobic street harasser with a swastika tat and his similarly inclined friend who stabbed another woman through the face with some glass. If you really mean that, I think your value system might need some work.”

    why? just because you sit in the comfort of relative anonymity does not mean that what you say here has no meaning. The next time some kid kills themselves because someone said something to them “on the internets”, be sure to tell their parents that it really wasn’t so bad since it was online. Me? I can take it. I’ve been called a hell of lot worse by far more creative people in my lifetime. It still doesn’t make it ok.

  279. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    Yeah, getting judged on the internet for internalized transphobia is totally the same as being exposed to systemic discrimination.

  280. Sandy
    Sandy February 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

    Bzzzt. Sorry, that is incorrect. Saying “Hey, you’re wrong and here’s why” or even “Hey, I think you’re a jerk” on the interwebs is not the same as yelling hate speech at someone on the street, making them feel unsafe, and/or brutally attacking them with a piece of glass.

  281. Alex
    Alex February 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

    Let’s be perfectly clear, I am not presuming anything of anybody. I am not saying this guy was an angel because he wasn’t. I am not saying that Cece was an angel either because she wasn’t. I am playing possibilities, I am looking at motivations and actions and asking what really happened. because I sure as shit know that it did not go down the way we are being told it was because it never does. That is just reality.

    Holy shit, how is this difficult to understand? Putting Cece, who was the fucking victim of an unprovoked attack, in the same category as Schmitz, a member of the group that attacked her is outrageous. She’s no angel? What did she do wrong? So far all that you and the other racism/transphobia apologists have been able to come up with is that she dared to confront a bunch of worthless pieces of shit who were screaming hate speech at her.

    Yeah, thank goodness you’re here to keep a cool head and “play possibilities”. How about you play the possibility that what went down was self-dense. That the system is racist and transphobic. That Cece will not be given a fair trial. That the fact THREE other self-dense cases were thrown out in the past year. I can’t even begin to understand what you and the others commenting in favour of Schmitz are even doing on a feminist blog.

    The next time some kid kills themselves because someone said something to them “on the internets”, be sure to tell their parents that it really wasn’t so bad since it was online. Me? I can take it. I’ve been called a hell of lot worse by far more creative people in my lifetime. It still doesn’t make it ok.

    At least you’re consistent in your nonsensical, ridiculous arguments.

    Donna, William, EG, LotusBen, Thomas, Sandy, Li and IrishUp, you are all amazing. I am in awe of your patience. This is so incredibly offensive, I can’t believe these kind of comments are being allowed through. What is going on with the mods?

  282. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

    I have lost count of the number of times my words have been twisted or I have been called names for asking questions. At no time have I defended schmitz. At no time have I said that he was right. At no time have I stated that Cece deserved anything she got. Yet despite this I have also lost count of the number of insults and character attacks I have received. Despite the fact that I have repeatedly tried to tell this group that I am not a homophobe, or transphobe, or misogynist or any of the other myriad things you hurled in my direction, you simply do not care. You have found a target in me for asking unpopular questions and nothing I can now say will change your minds. You accuse me of things I have not done and shout me down when I protest. and while one persons’ insults can arguably be shrugged off, being ganged up on by everyone and disparaged mercilessly takes its toll. You win even though it was never a contest. I’ll stop posting in this thread. It is clear you all hate me for things I never said or condoned but everyone believes I did. I’ll admit that in frustration I did get short and confrontational at times, but go back and read what I posted. I never defended Schmitz. The closest I ever came was to suggest he MAY not have been a neo-nazi and I was not the first one to suggest it. I never defended his actions, I never condoned his speech, I never condoned any of that groups actions. I did make the mistake of questioning Cece’s role beyond what was socially acceptable though and for that you have my mea culpa. Thank you all for bullying me into submission.

  283. William
    William February 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    Despite the fact that I have repeatedly tried to tell this group that I am not a homophobe, or transphobe, or misogynist or any of the other myriad things you hurled in my direction, you simply do not care.

    Because actions are more important than protestations. Then again, given the trouble you’ve had with understanding why someone with a swastika tattoo hurling racial epithets might be called a neo nazi, I’m guessing this is a difficult concept for you.

    I know I put that violin somewhere…. Gosh! Seems I’m a bully!

  284. DonnaL
    DonnaL February 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |

    Flounce.

    I knew it was impossible to get through to him once he became so invested in seeing himself as the innocent victim of ruthless Internet bullies, and started comparing himself to gay kids who commit suicide.

    And I’m very skeptical of any implication on his part that he’s trans himself, given that he was extremely unclear on that subject and then went on to take the “some of my friends are gay and trans” approach. If by some chance he is, he certainly has a lot of work to do on his internalized transphobia. Not that I’ve ever known any trans people, including myself, who’ve gotten over it completely.

  285. EG
    EG February 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

    Yeah, yeah, Marley, life is so fucking hard for you. Having people stick up for persecuted people and make the entirely reasonable assumption that someone who gets a swastika tattoo and shouts racist crap is a neo-Nazi is just like shouting racist, anti-trans bullshit at a woman just trying to get to the corner store. We are just like Schmitz. And you’re just like some poor gay isolated gay kid who commits suicide after being relentlessly bullied in real life as well as on-line. You just keep on throwing yourself that pity party.

    Hmm. If we’re no better than Schmitz, then that makes you no better than Cece, yes? So can we have you arrested?

  286. jesus_marley
    jesus_marley February 17, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    OK last post here in this thead I promise.

    I am a hetero male native american. With the exception of one person that I failed to mention earlier, my entire social circle consists bi, gay, and trans people both male and female and everything in between. All of whom I consider very close friends who I love dearly. Despite my protestations I have been labelled as a homophobic, transphobic, mysogynist even though in all of my posts I have never suggested in any way shape or form anything of the sort. The closest that one could argue would be that I answered a question suggesting a reason as to why a person would have a swastika tattoo without being a neo-nazi. At no point did I ever suggest that such person was not still a raging racist fuck. These are the facts. the rest is from you guys. someone threw the homophobe slur at me and it stuck. and then I was ganged up on. this is also a fact. I am seriously not seeking pity but I do want fairness. and it is only fair for you to judge me for what I have actually said and done and not what you think I have said and done. Lastly it is not only gay kids who have killed themselves from bullying, internet or otherwise. I am not invested in portraying myself as a victim. I have called out what I see as bullying behaviour by this crowd. You may not think much of it, but it still hurts all the same. I came far too close once before to believing what the bullies told me to not speak against it now. Mock me if you will. I’m sticking around, but not in this thread.

  287. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 18, 2012 at 12:47 am |

    See, here’s what I read throughout: “I think trans people should have to put up with all manner of bullying. Refusing bullying only escalates the situation and is the short-skirt-in-rape of getting attacked – you get what you deserve. Y’all aren’t bending down to kiss my ever-privileged ass, so I’m going to flounce [once][twice][...] because y’all are bullies for calling out my bigotry. Bullies. Suicide.”

    Sorry bro.

  288. EG
    EG February 18, 2012 at 12:58 am |

    Mock me if you will.

    It’s always such a relief to me when someone says this. Without his permission, I would have felt so bad about making fun of somebody who feels it may not be entirely fair to refer to a racist with a swastika tattoo as a neo-Nazi and that anybody who stands up to a harasser is doing the equivalent of throwing the first punch.

    Oh, nope. I wouldn’t feel bad at all.

    Dude, we are judging you by what you said. You just don’t like the judgment. That’s very sad for you, but not my problem.

    I am a feminist, and I will always, always, always extend support and the benefit of the doubt to any woman who has been the victim of harassment, any woman who defends herself against a racist, anti-trans attacker, any woman who has been and will continue to be radically mistreated by our legal system. I feel no such moral allegiance to neo-Nazi harassers, their friends, or their internet apologists.

    Particularly ones who make piss-poor comparisons that even they can’t defend when pushed (commenters being mean to me on Feministe when I’m not even posting under my real name is just like people some poor kid knows in real life cyberstalking him and hounding him until he commits suicide).

    You come on here spouting your racist anti-trans bullshit, demonstrating once again that black women and trans women–let along black trans women–can’t count on the people who post on feminist websites to have their backs, and then you have the balls to claim that we’re bullies? That we’re creating a hostile and unhealthy environment for you?

    That’s fucking rich.

  289. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    William, I know you hate Christianity, but in disposition you totally remind me of a preacher, in all the good ways and none of the bad ways. You are quite charismatic. . .when I read most of your posts on this thread I found myself nodding so vigorously that it’s probably not good for my neck.

    Please found a cult or something so that I can follow you.

  290. William
    William February 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    Thanks, LotusBen, but I think we should keep the focus here on CeCe and not on lionizing straight white cis allies.

  291. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm |

    Of course. Agreed.

  292. bravepotato
    bravepotato February 22, 2012 at 10:33 am |

    i sent an email urging county attorney freeman to drop the charges against ms. mcdonald and yesterday i received this reply:

    Dear (Name),

    Thanks for writing to us. We appreciate your concern for the defendant. However, our job is to take the facts presented to us by the police investigators. We then determine if a crime has been committed that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, we charge the suspect. We have made that decision in this case, and now it will be up to a jury to make the final determination.

    Again, thanks for reaching out to our office. If you feel there is anything we can do to help in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Sincerely,
    Citizen Information Line
    Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
    C-2000 Government Center
    300 South Sixth Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55487
    612.348.2146

    “We serve justice and public safety through our commitment to ethical prosecution, crime prevention, and through innovative and reasoned client representation.”

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