Milwaukee officials are offering $28,000 for information in the killing of a Black transgender woman
By Aya Elamroussi, CNN
Milwaukee Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $28,000 for information leading to an arrest in the killing of a transgender Black woman who was found dead two weeks ago.
Brazil Johnson, 28, was found fatally shot on June 15 in the city’s Triangle North neighborhood. As of late Thursday, authorities were still searching for clues pointing to a suspect.
“(Milwaukee County) Supervisor Peter Burgelis announced the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Cream City Foundation, and Milwaukee Crime Stoppers contributed $1000 each towards a Crime Stoppers reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of those responsible,” the organization said in a news release. “As the President of Milwaukee Crime Stoppers, Attorney Michael Hupy generously pledged $25,000 to help the effort as well.”
In a statement, Burgelis said the reward is aimed at providing an “added incentive” for members of the public with information to come forward.
In a news conference Thursday, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa said the community was “outraged to hear of the loss of a young, Black transgender woman in our city.”
“It is devastating that in light of Milwaukee’s recent Pride celebrations, we are once again reminded of the harsh reality that transgender Black and brown women suffer higher rates of violence than their straight counterparts, as well as their lesbian, gay, and bisexual counterparts,” she added.
At least 19 transgender people have been fatally shot or killed in the US this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2021, the campaign tracked a record number of such killings, with at least 50 transgender and gender-nonconforming people killed.
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center executive director Kevin Turner said the organization was supporting efforts to find the person responsible.
“We stand with the family as well,” Turner said in a statement. “We’re here to support our transgender community [which] is being attacked on record levels and we want to make sure that their voices are being heard.”
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson wrote on social media he wants justice for Johnson.
“She was talented and loved, and the attack on her appears to be entirely unjustified,” he wrote. “I also want an end to violence against any person victimized because of hate, discrimination, or ignorance. We must recognize that this violence exists, and, collectively, we must work to stop it.”
Capt. Raymond Bratchett, who serves as a Milwaukee Police Department district captain, emphasized even the smallest details can be a crucial lead to help law enforcement in the case. People can report information anonymously through Milwaukee Crime Stoppers.
The investigation is ongoing, and the motive behind the attack remains undetermined, Bratchett said. It is not yet known if her transgender identity is tied to the reason she was killed.
Burgelis acknowledged residents’ tense relationship with the police department, but he implored anyone with information to share it with law enforcement.
“The trans community in Milwaukee is in mourning; they’re in pain,” he said. “Let’s not forget Brazil Johnson’s name and her story. And let’s find the person or people responsible for this. If you know something, say something.”
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CNN’s Andi Babineau and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.