'We are outraged': City leaders, police plead for tips about murder of Black transgender woman; $2K reward offered

’We are outraged’: City leaders, police plead for tips about murder of Black transgender woman; $2K reward offered

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Two weeks later, there are still many questions regarding the death of Brazil Johnson.

According to police, the Black transgender woman was murdered June 15 near Teutonia and Garfield Avenue on Milwaukee's north side. A $2,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to an arrest. 

Johnson's mother said her daughter was shot multiple times.

On Wednesday, a vigil for Johnson was held by members of Milwaukee's Black transgender community, mourning Johnson's death and calling for justice.

"The trans community in Milwaukee is in mourning. They're in pain," said County Supervisor Peter Burgelis.

"We can and must do better to protect our trans neighbors," said Milwaukee District 8 Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.

On Thursday, city leaders along with Milwaukee police officers addressed Johnson's murder.

"Let's not forget Brazil Johnson's name, her story, and let's find the person or people responsible for this," Burgelis said.

Her death is highlighting statistics about violence toward Black trans women.

"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," Ald. Zamarripa said.

Milwaukee Police Department's LGBTQ liaison officers also attended the conference. According to Officer Guadalupe Velasquez, the liaisons are meant to be an effort to improve the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and police, but that isn't always easy.

"Given historical difficulties with the police department, I can absolutely understand the hesitation and fear about coming forward -- but for Brazil, for other trans women in Milwaukee, if you know something, say something," Burgelis said.

With no leads so far and very little information on Johnson's murder, Milwaukee police are pleading for help.

"Never feel like what you know won't be helpful or beneficial. It could be just what we need," said Cpt. Raymond Bratchett.

"Today is a call to action. I implore my fellow Milwaukeeans to please reach out to us if you have any information about the tragic death of Brazil Johnson," Ald. Zamarripa said.

MPD cannot confirm if the case will be considered a hate crime as the investigation is still ongoing.

Anyone with information on Johnson's death is encouraged to contact the Milwaukee Police Department or Crime Stoppers.

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