The headline itself makes me angry — while the deal involves pleading “guilty,” coercively accepting the best of bad options in a terrifying situation where you are being aggressively prosecuted and likely to face a hostile jury that is NOT made up of your peers is not the same as “admitting” that the whole self-defense line was bullshit — this is the first time I’ve actually seen Freeman make his argument about why prosecuting CeCe was necessary:
“This is not a self-defense case, because if you have a weapon, you have a duty to retreat,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
McDonald did not try to walk away, Freeman said, nor did she act reasonably toward Schmitz. He said McDonald was beating up the woman who threw the glass when Schmitz pulled McDonald away.
“There was no indication in that point in time that there was any weapon about to be used against Ms. McDonald. Nor was there any evidence that she was in any threat of harm by the victim,” Freeman said. “She pulls her scissors out and stabs him in the chest. That’s not self-defense.”
1. CeCe had ALREADY been attacked with a weapon. How is it “reasonable” to assume that they did not have an additional weapon when they had already used one against her?
2. How, exactly, do you “walk away” from a group of white supremacists who have smashed your face in?
3. In what universe is being grabbed by the guy who just made violent threats against you (shouting racist and transphobic slurs at a person walking down the street is a threat) an example of “no evidence” that she was about to be harmed? How is that NOT a threat?
4. Notice the differences and similarities between this case and that of Trayvon Martin. CeCe was arrested immediately over a death in a fight where she was not the aggressor, had been attacked with a weapon, and received threats against her safety. George Zimmerman was free for over a month after a fight in which he was the aggressor and was the only one who possessed a weapon. BOTH CeCe and Trayvon were expected to “retreat” from their aggressors rather than fight back. George Zimmerman got to “stand his ground” in a fight that he started, while CeCe McDonald was expected to somehow walk away from a group of people who had used a weapon against her … because she had a weapon, too.
I know that someone is going to say something about different states, different laws, and good for them. That might be the “technical” “explanation.” But what this comes down to is that white folks are allowed to assault and even kill Black folks as much as they damn want to, and Black people are not allowed to defend themselves.