Chrishaun McDonald says transgender status means unfair murder trial ahead

Categories: Homicide Files

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Chrishaun McDonald, charged with stabbing David Schmitz to death earlier this month outside The Schooner Tavern in South Minneapolis, is claiming that her status as transgender jeopardizes her ability to receive a fair trial.

McDonald is also claiming self defense.

"Chrishaun McDonald was verbally assaulted with racial slurs, sexual harassment, and transphobic and sexist attacks," Katie Burgess, executive director of the Trans Youth Support Network said today in a statement. "Ms. McDonald was hit in the face with a bottle. Her attacker ended up dead."

Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels of violence and harassment, and are pulled into prisons and jails at extremely high rates. Over 30% of trans women of color are incarcerated every year. Once in prison or jail, 38% are harassed, 15% are physically assaulted, and 7% are sexually assaulted. These violent abuses are enacted upon them by guards and fellow prisoners. Although none of us knows all the details about what happened on June 5th, we do know that the deck is stacked against Ms. McDonald.

Burgess has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow morning to discuss the charges, and McDonald's treatment in jail as she awaits trial for second-degree murder.

Read the full statement from Burgess after the jump:

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