MILWAUKEE — As another day passes with no leads in the murder of local transgender woman, Brazil Johnson, Milwaukee police and city leaders are issuing a call to action. They shared a public plea at city hall Thursday.
“Help us find out who did this,” said Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, a proud member of the LGBTQ community. “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. Johnson, 28, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds near Teutonia and North Avenues. No one is in custody.
“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.
If you know anything about Johnson's death, call Milwaukee Police at 414-935-7360. If you want to remain anonymous, you can also always call Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS