A Black trans woman was shot dead during a robbery in Cincinnati. Riah Milton’s body was discovered on Tuesday morning June 9 in Liberty Township, Ohio.
Police say the 25-year-old trans woman died of multiple gunshot wounds after Kaleb Marshall Tooson, 18, Tyree Jeffery Cross, 25, and a 14-year-old girl “lured” her to Liberty Township to rob her of her vehicle. Cross is still being sought, and the other two are in custody, according to police.
According to her Facebook, Milton worked as a home health aide and studied at the University of Cincinnati. In March, she posted the status “Never been scared to struggle. Imma get it eventually.”
“Black Trans Lives Matter,” said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. “In the same week countless people across the globe stand up for racial injustice, in the same week we honor the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, in the same week a billionaire author spouts transphobic rhetoric to millions — in this same week, we have lost two more Black transgender women to the same fate most of us worry about every day.”
“Say their names. Dominique Rem’mie Fells. Dominique Rem’mie Fells. Dominique Rem’mie Fells. Riah Milton. Riah Milton. Riah Milton,” Cooper continued, “Continue to say the names of every transgender and gender non-conforming person stolen from this Earth. Don’t wait until we are all gone to speak up. This fight belongs to us all.”
There are currently very few explicit federal legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. At the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Ohio are not explicitly protected in employment, housing, or in public spaces. They are also not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation. Nationally, despite some marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government.
Milton’s sister said she contacted Butler County sheriff Richard Jones to plead that the department use the correct gender while discussing the murder, and that he “refused to correct himself after being called out multiple times.”