Several large messages were spray-painted on the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility during a late-night protest in support of Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald, who was sentenced Monday for fatally stabbing a bar patron one year ago.
Leslie Feinberg, an author on transgender issues, was arrested in connection with the graffiti and is now jailed without bail, according to Trans Youth Support Network, the advocacy group spearheading opposition to McDonald's prosecution in the killing of Dean Schmitz, 47. Supporters of McDonald contend that bias toward transgender people and blacks fueled the melee in which Schmitz was killed outside the Schooner Tavern in south Minneapolis
McDonald, born and man and in transition to becoming a woman, was escorted from the jail in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday and turned over to state corrections officials for imprisonment.
As county employees reported for work and citizens came and went, cleanup efforts were underway Tuesday morning to cover over the large letters painted on the building's walls and a pillar that demanded McDonald be freed.
"It is the most damage for that building in terms of vandalism," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lisa Kiava. She said the messages would be fully removed.
"Outraged supporters took to the streets, blocking traffic for over an hour in protest of the violent abuses McDonald has faced at the hands of our legal system," the support network said in a statement. The 100 or so demonstrators made noise "loud enough to be heard within the facility" where McDonald had been held, the statement continued.
Network Executive Director Katie Burgess said that several of Feinberg's books, including "Stone Butch Blues" and "Transgender Warriors," are widely read in college gender studies classes across the country.
"As a white, working-class, Jewish, transgender lesbian revolutionary I will not be silent as this injustice continues," Feinberg, 62, said in a statement issued through the network. "The prosecution hopes this struggle is over. But it is not over: Free CeCe now."
McDonald, 24, having pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, was sentenced Monday to 3 1/2 years in prison. McDonald received credit for 245 days of jail time, and must pay $6,400 in restitution for Schmitz's funeral expenses.
McDonald will initially be housed as a man at the St. Cloud prison, corrections spokeswoman Sarah Russell said Monday. Then the state will make its own determination of McDonald's gender and assign the inmate's housing accordingly.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482