CINCINNATI — On March 3, Diamond "Kyree" Sanders was found shot in Clifton. She was taken to the hospital, but later died from her injuries. Since her death, a blog post from the Human Rights Campaign highlighting the 23-year-old woman has gained traction online and on social media.
The post identified Sanders as transgender, a detail of her life also highlighted in her obituary online, alongside other details like her love for travel, fashion and fond memories of weekends spent baking cookies and making pigs in a blanket with family members who loved her.
Statistics and data show violence against people who are transgender and, specifically, trans women of color, is high year after year in the United States. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2020 was the deadliest year for people who are transgender, and transgender people of color were far more likely to be victims of violence.
Despite this, the Cincinnati Police Department said Sanders' murder was not a hate crime. Cincinnati Police said there are details their investigation has uncovered that they cannot yet share with the public that point to Sanders' death being a robbery that ended tragically, rather than a hate crime.
"I don't feel HRC has enough information to really make a determination in this case, but to altogether dismiss the possibility of her being transgender as a motivating factor is pretty negligent on the part of the police," said Faith Gingrich Goetz, political co-chair of the HRC Greater Cincinnati Steering Committee.
She said, because hate crimes happen much more frequently than are reported -- either by victims or those in law enforcement investigating a homicide -- it can be difficult to truly determine how many crimes involving people who are transgender could be hate-driven.
"Particularly against trans women of color, (they) are either not reported or misreported by law enforcement," she said.
According to the HRC, trans women of color are seven times more likely to be murdered than the United States' national average, and Gingrich Goetz hopes more awareness around the stigmas that can cause tragedy can help bring more protection to the entire community.
"Ohio doesn't currently have a law that addresses hate or biased crimes based on gender identity," she said.
Since Sanders' death in early March, Cincinnati Police have not yet announced any arrests or released any suspect information connected to her murder. Anyone who may have information about the shooting should call Cincinnati homicide investigators at 513-352-3542.