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Sheriff: Silence is standing in the way of ‘Justice for Bree’

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Bree Black’s killer remains on the loose. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said the community can’t allow this and needs to speak up about what they witnessed the night she died.

Tony said the silence “has been harming this community.”

There was a street party with hundreds of revelers when shots were fired about 10:30 p.m., July 3, in the area of Northwest Third Avenue and Northwest 12th Street. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue personnel found the 27-year-old transgender woman dead at 244 NW 12 St.

Broward Sheriff’s Office homicide detectives have been asking the public for help for about a month. There was a $3,000 financial reward for information leading to an arrest in her murder. Tony said they haven’t received one tip.

On Wednesday, the Florida Sheriffs Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program (CAAP) announced it was offering an additional $5,000 reward in the case. Combined with the offering from Broward Crime Stoppers, that brings the total reward up to $8,000.

Black, also known as “NUK,” was the 21st known violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The advocacy group reported the U.S. hasn’t had such a high number of these homicides at this point in the year since 2013 when volunteers started to track the murders.

Advocates from Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward and from other organizations all over the country such as the TransInclusive Group, the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and the Transgender Law Center reacted to the news of her murder.

Shenika “Nik” Harris, who identifies as queer gender non-conforming activist, also took interest in the case. Last year, the attorney became the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ first consumer advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

Harris, who lives in Broward County and is licensed to practice law in Florida and Washington, D.C., served as a spokesperson for Bree’s family during BSO’s news conference on Tuesday.

“They have a hole in their family. They are hurting,” Harris said. “They just had to plan a funeral for a loved one, and so to have that compounded by the fact that they have no justice for Bree, it’s upsetting to them.”

Tony, Sgt. Bryan Tutler and Detective Louis Bonhomme are asking anyone with information about the murder to call 954-321-4377 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

Pompano Beach Fire Rescue paramedics found Bree Black dead on July 3.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue paramedics found Bree Black dead on July 3. (BSO)

Here is the Human Rights Campaign list of transgender women killed this year in the U.S.:

  1. Dustin Parker
  2. Neulisa Luciano Ruiz
  3. Yampi Méndez Arocho
  4. Monika Diamond
  5. Lexi
  6. Johanna Metzger
  7. Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos
  8. Layla Pelaez Sánchez
  9. Penélope Díaz Ramírez
  10. Nina Pop
  11. Helle Jae O’Regan
  12. Tony McDade
  13. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells
  14. Riah Milton
  15. Jayne Thompson
  16. Selena Reyes-Hernandez
  17. Brian “Egypt’ Powers
  18. Brayla Stone
  19. Merci Mack
  20. Shaki Peters
  21. Bree Black
  22. Summer Taylor
  23. Marilyn Cazares
  24. Dior H Ova
  25. Queasha D Hardy

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