FBI appeal for new information on homicide of Black trans woman Brazil Johnson

Brazil Johnson, a Black trans woman, wears a brown shirt and blue band on her write as she poses for a picture

The FBI and Milwaukee Police are renewing their public appeal for information regarding the homicide of trans woman Brazil Johnson.

Johnson, a 28-year-old Black woman, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 15 June, 2022.

Although police were able to rule the death as a homicide, they were not able to identify any suspects or a motive.

CCTV footage from the night of the death of trans woman Brazil Johnson
FBI have released photos from the night of the homicide of Brazil Johnson in the hopes that someone might be able to identify this person. (FBI Milwaukee Field Office)

Now, 19 months later, investigations continue and police are renewing their appeal for information.

Releasing photos from the scene of the homicide, the FBI and the Milwaukee Police Department asked the public to see if they could identify the individual pictured.

Johnson was remembered as a sweet and kind person, a passionate chef, and a member of the Diverse and Resilient, an organisation that works to achieve health equity and improve the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ people across Wisconsin.

You may like to watch

Her death was devastating to all who knew her, as well as the wider trans community and its allies.

Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, described Johnson’s death as “devastating” for the community, Johnson’s family and the “lives she touched”.

CCTV footage from the night of the death of trans woman Brazil Johnson
Investigators are still looking for leads 19 months after Brazil Johnson was found dead. (FBI Milwaukee Field Office)

“At just 28, her life was taken far too soon,” Cooper said. “We must say her name and honour her legacy by fighting to end this epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people in America and around the world.”

Johnson’s mother, Bernita Gildart, said at the time that she believed her daughter was killed because she was a transgender woman.

“For someone to do that so many times, that’s just hateful, so I’m looking at it like that’s just total hate,” Gildart had said. “Why would you do something like that to her, what did she do so wrong for her to deserve that kind of death?”

When reports of Johnson’s death first broke, she was named by the HRC as “at least” the 18th transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming person to be violently killed in 2022.

In total, the HRC recorded at least 41 transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming deaths by violent means that year. The organisation that there could have been many more, as stories like Johnson’s go unreported far too often.

Of the victims recorded by the HRC in 2022, 83 per cent were people of colour, 54 per cent were Black transgender women, and 71 per cent were killed with a gun.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s case is asked to contact the FBI Milwaukee Field Office at 414–276-4684.

Please login or register to comment on this story.