MILWAUKEE — Authorities are now offering a $28,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old transgender Black woman near Teutonia and Garfield on June 15.
No arrests have been made in the death of Brazil Johnson.
President of Milwaukee Crime Stoppers, Attorney Michael Hupy, is contributing $25,000 while Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Cream City Foundation, and Milwaukee Crime Stoppers are each contributing $1,000.
Contact Crime Stoppers on their website here or by calling 414-224-8477.
“Help us find out who did this,” said Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, a proud member of the LGBTQ community, during a press briefing on Thursday. “Transgender Black and Brown women suffer higher rates of violence than their straight counterparts, as well as their lesbian, gay and bisexual counterparts.”
Johnson’s death two weeks ago hit especially close to home for Zamarripa and other allies.
“If anyone has any information, please come forward,” said Milwaukee Police Capt. Raymond Bratchett. “Sometimes even the smallest piece of information can be the break that we need in these cases.”
Capt. Bratchett was joined by two representatives of the Milwaukee Police Department's (MPD) LGBTQ Liaison Program, Sgt. Guadalupe Velasquez and Officer Juliana Nailen.
The LGBTQ Liaison Program aims to create more understanding of LGBTQ issues within the police department.
“There are people within the department who care and want to help foster relationships,” said Sgt. Velasquez. “There are hurdles and obstacles that must be overcome before the relationships improve. As members of the LGBTQ community and Milwaukee Police Department, we have a unique role in helping that happen.”
“I work out of District 7 at 36th and Fond du Lac, and I run into a lot of transgender people, especially on the north side,” said Officer Nailen. “A lot of them still do not trust us, and it can be incredibly frustrating because we want to help. We are going to continue to push forward and work on that. Whenever a member of the LGBTQ community is victimized, it hits closer to home for us as LGBTQ officers.”
Both Nailen and Velasquez are Milwaukee residents and are building their own families here. While neither of them knew Johnson personally, they want her murder solved. They also want to make sure LGBTQ people in Milwaukee are not living in fear.
“They can reach out to us,” Sgt. Velasquez said.
Johnson is at least the 17th transgender person killed in the U.S. in 2022, the Human Rights Campaign found, and Black transgender women make up 66% of all victims of deadly violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people.