Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald’s whole life changed in June 2011 when he got into a bar fight in Minneapolis. The incident resulted in the death of Dean Schmitz, 47, and McDonald sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.
Now she is free after serving 19 months in a Minnesota detention facility.
According to charges, McDonald and friends were walking along E. 29th Street shortly after midnight when a group of men and women outside the tavern started yelling racial, homophobic and transgender slurs. The group that included McDonald, all of them black, crossed the street to confront the bar crowd. A woman from the tavern pushed a bar glass into McDonald’s face, leaving cuts that required 11 stitches.
Schmitz then pulled McDonald out of the fight, and McDonald stabbed him in the chest with scissors. Schmitz died at the scene. At sentencing, McDonald placed some of the responsibility for the bloodshed on Schmitz.
“I’m sure that to Dean’s family, he was a loving, caring person,” McDonald said in court. “But that is not what I saw that night. I saw a racist, transphobic, narcissistic bigot who did not have any regard for my friends and I.”
McDonald was charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in 2012.
Her prosecution became a rallying point for LGBTQ organizations who demanded the charges be dropped and that McDonald not be housed in a men’s prison.
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