09/22/11: CeCe McDonald deemed “not a threat” to community, bail lowered

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2011
Contact: Katie Burgess -Executive Director, Trans Youth Support Network transyouthsupportnetwork@gmail.com
(612) 363-7574 & Billy Navarro Jr. –MN Transgender Health Coalition mntranspr@gmail.com

Minneapolis, MN – Over 40 people gathered at 8:00 am this morning outside the Hennepin County District Court to show their support for Chrishaun McDonald, who appeared in court at 9:00 am for an omnibus hearing. At the hearing, both sides made arguments in regards to the defense’s motion for a bail reduction. Judge Daniel C. Moreno then determined that Ms. McDonald poses no threat to the community, and lowered her bail from $150,000 to $75,000. Though DNA evidence is due back in December, her trial isn’t scheduled to begin until January 9th of next year; no other hearings are currently scheduled.

“CeCe has shown amazing resiliency and leadership during the past few months, calling for her own release and an end to this kind of violence and discrimination,” said Katie Burgess, Executive Director of the Trans Youth Support Network. JayJay Cross, McDonald’s sister, called on those gathered to maintain their support: “I want my sister to get out of jail, because she means so much to me. I want to ask people to support her, to love her, to show caring…She just shined in that courtroom. When she told us she loved us it just showed everyone in the courtroom her spirit.”

Speakers at the rallies have drawn connections between McDonald’s case and broader patterns of violence and discrimination that transgender women of color experience at disproportionate rates. “We need to stop the bullying, we need to stop transgender people being assaulted…We need to stand in unity, as GLBT people,” said David Tomlinson of local GLBT organization Sotaboyzz Ent. ZaVawn Zay, CeCe’s brother, reiterated, “It’s a sad day that in 2011 transgender people still have to look over their shoulder when walking down the street. I would like to see change, I would like to see the people and the community involved and putting their social differences aside and come as one.”

Chrishaun McDonald is a young, African-American, transgender woman who was attacked by a group of white adults while walking by the Schooner Tavern on Lake Street in South Minneapolis. The attack occurred early on the morning of June 5, 2011. Patrons of the bar attacked Ms. McDonald and her friends with transphobic and racist slurs and bashed Ms. McDonald’s face with a glass beer mug. Although Ms. McDonald was the target of a hate crime, she was singled out and charged with second degree murder after one of the attackers was killed. After her arrest, she was held for a month in solitary confinement for her “protection,” despite her requests to be moved to another part of the jail.
Leaving the courtroom after the last court hearing, Cee Cee Howell, McDonald’s cousin, said, “It’s just a shame that we have to keep going through these trials…we have to sit here being frustrated and sad. Love her and can’t wait for her to get out and I’ll stick with her till the end.”

Supporters have vowed to rally and pack the courtroom again on January 9th, to demand that the charges against McDonald be dropped. Visit https://supportcece.wordpress.com or email mpls4cece@gmail.com for more information, or find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002567181562.
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