Chrishaun McDonald says transgender status means unfair murder trial ahead

Categories: Homicide Files

Statement from Katie Burgess, executive director of the Trans Youth Support Network

Minneapolis, MN -Early on the morning of June 5th, outside the Schooner Tavern on Lake Street, Chrishaun McDonald was verbally assaulted with racial slurs, sexual harassment, and transphobic and sexist attacks. When a larger brawl ensued, Ms. McDonald was hit in the face with a bottle. Her attacker ended up dead, and Ms. McDonald was taken to jail where she remains in solitary confinement. She has been charged with second degree murder. Ms. McDonald maintains her innocence, citing self-defense: "They were the ones who attacked us. It was evil what they called us."

Ms. McDonald is a transgender woman. In the weeks since June 5th, media coverage and prosecutors have consistently referred to Ms. McDonald with incorrect (male) pronouns. Because Ms. McDonald is being held in a gender-segregated jail, the potential for abuse and mistreatment is high. In a phone interview from jail, Ms. McDonald described the treatment she's receiving in solitary confinement: "They've got me in the hole, and they're not giving me proper healthcare."

According to Katie Burgess, Executive Director of the Trans Youth Support Network and a friend of Ms. McDonald's, "Chrishaun McDonald's case is a tragedy, but unfortunately it's not a rarity. 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, and we ask concerned community members to support her in her trial."

Friends who have spoken with Ms. McDonald say she remains hopeful and committed to fighting for justice in her case. But she has deep concerns that because she is a transgender woman of color she is unlikely to receive a fair trial with a jury of her peers, especially because she doesn't have the funds to hire her own legal counsel. When asked about her trial, Ms. McDonald said, "Everybody should just be treated like human beings, no matter who they are."

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14 comments
roysomali
roysomali

1. Your concealed weapon is for the protection of life ONLY

2. Know exactly when you can use your weapon. 3 criteria must be met:
a. His ABILITY to inflict serious bodily injury
b. His OPPORTUNITY to inflict serious bodily harm
c. His INTENT (hostile actions or words) to inflict serious bodily harm
3. If you can run away safely, run
4. If you display your weapon, you can go to jail
5. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you! Be humble … don’t instigate

Antoinette Coles
Antoinette Coles

Thank you Hart Van Denburg for finally getting Ms. McDonald's gender identity correct. I was absolutly triggered reading all of your previous reports calling her the wrong gender.  Her gender idntity is why she was attacked.  Her gender identity is why she is at risk in the correctional system.  Her identity is who she is.  At least media can get her proper gender pronouns as they use her to sell their publications.

Julie Hansen63
Julie Hansen63

Calling names is no excuse to stab and kill someone...McDonald should've walked away instead of crossing the street. it doesn't matter what gender the person is...name calling is pitty and as a grown up McDonald's group should've keep walking.

Jdc
Jdc

How about getting Deans name correct?

Nick_L
Nick_L

Being called names IS an excuse to confront those who are harassing you.

If, during that confrontation, you have a bottle smashed on your face, that becomes a pretty good reason to defend yourself, which could include stabbing someone.*

The fact that you place the entirety of the blame on her, given the above circumstances, probably says a lot about the factors you use to form your opinions. You may consider name calling to be "petty", but that is because you likely haven't experienced violence or intimidation based on your race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If you did, I doubt you would come to that conclusion.

* I'm in no way saying that I believe she stabbed the guy. I only know what has been reported. From what we know, it seems like whoever did stab him had a pretty good reason to do so, though.

JH
JH

this statement "Being called names IS an excuse to confront those who are harassing you" is what I'm concerned about..Me as an Adult would just keep walking instead of crossing the street to confront that person. McDonald must have been pretty close to have a bottle smashed in her face. I'm sorry that happened. I had name calling to me when I was younger, I was taught to put my head up high and Say to myself...I'm nothing what there saying..They have to blame someone for not being not happy in there life. I walk away Proud. No one deserves to be stab or killed. All they need to do was call 911.

roysomali
roysomali

@Nick_L Nick is the only guaranteed ignorant person here. I tell you that.


Why would someone black and trans confront a neo nazi? That's a good way to either die or.. surprise! end up in prison for murder like this.  



I love how there's no way she could be guilty in your eyes based on her race. what is that about? 

roysomali
roysomali

@Indi Edwards Roughsedge Yeah! You tell em. STAB THEM IN THE THROAT WITH A SCISSORS! That's the best advice to give anyone who's different right? 

Indi Edwards Roughsedge
Indi Edwards Roughsedge

you obviously haven't experienced compounding transphobia. Walk away LMAO. No more walking away. Fuck that. 

Call 911 thats cute, can get assaulted by the cops as well. 

Kiddmill07
Kiddmill07

and if you have to talk about others,you have problems yourself. If you are successful you arnt going to sit around hating on others,people dont have time for that. If you have something rude to say,keep it to yourself or say it to your friends or face whatevers coming to you. I dont go around talking stuff to people unless im prepared to do something about it. What matter do it make about how you look or what race you are? If you happy being white thats you,if that guy wanna be a girl,thats him..that has nithing to do with me. Just mind your businesses if you are truely happy and jyst live life while you are here or see an early grave

Kiddmill07
Kiddmill07

Nobody deserves to die unless you are heartless and careless,even then it still wouldnt be right because theres no coming back from that. BUT everybody here was wrong,you can easily say the transgender could have just ignored them which is true but if the people never said anything to them in the begining nobody would even be dead..nobody woulda have even been hurt,touched,talked to. But rest in peace

Nick_L
Nick_L

Also: Find the article on this website about how she will not receive a fair trial because she is a black trans-woman. The figures in it about how people of her race and gender-identity are treated by police should give you a pretty good idea of why calling 911 is a silly suggestion.

Nick_L
Nick_L

You're really showing your ignorance here.

We aren't talking about the time someone made fun of your glasses on the playground. We're talking about repressive and violent racist and homophobic slurs. No person should be subject to that sort of treatment, and yet you still focus all of your blame on McDonald for her reaction, rather than the man responsible for creating the confrontation.

You say that when you were taunted you would comfort yourself with the fact that you were not any of the things they were saying. That should make the difference obvious, as she WAS the things they said. She is a black trans-woman, and that's why she was subject to this verbal and physical attack.

If you are willing to let people demean and abuse you for being the person you are, I honestly feel sorry for you. I am proud of her for standing up to racist homophobes.

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