Earlier this year, the Black community suffered another loss. As we previously reported, on March 3, 2021, Diamond Kyree Sanders, a black transgender woman, was murdered during a robbery outside of an apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The case has been ongoing for several months, with police scrambling to find more details on Sander’s murder. Fortunately, authorities later identified the three killers behind Sanders' death. Now that the case has progressed, the murderers will surely face a hefty sentencing.
Authorities claim Sander’s murder was a crime committed “out of greed” and not hate. Police reports show that the 23-year-old was fatally shot during an armed robbery. The Voice of Black Cincinnati reported on their Facebook page that the murderers stole Sander’s purse and phone.
On March 3rd, 2021, at 4 a.m. in the morning, authorities found Sanders fighting for her life in a car park by the Clifton Colony Apartments on the 3200 Block of Morrison Avenue. However, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that shortly after being taken to a local hospital, she died. Sanders' death came too fast and at the wrong time.
On Thursday (Sept. 30.), the three murderers behind Sanders’ death - Christopher Hisle, Franchez Rivers and Kiara Davis, were indicted by a grand jury in Hamilton County, Ohio.
Currently, they are facing criminal charges of murder, aggravated robbery, and felonious assault. Though, Hisle has remained behind bars for the longest, given a prior case he faced charges for carrying a concealed weapon.
On September 8 of this year, Hisle pleaded guilty. Though, it won’t trim any years off his sentencing, given his involvement in Sanders’ murder. Both Rivers and Davis were arrested this past on September 29th and 28th of this year.
Sanders’ family is currently mourning over her untimely death. In her obituary, her family affectionately describes her as a “ball of energy” that loved life and her especially her kin.
Additionally, Sander’s family recalled her love for fashion and her impeccable sense of style. More importantly, though, her family accepted and loved her unconditionally. Sanders was fortunate in being surrounded by a loving family, a reality not every queer person is granted with.
While the police have deemed Sanders’ death a tragic result of a robbery, LGBTQ activists view it as a hate crime. In fact, several members from the Humane Rights Campaign and National Black Justice Coalition have spoken out about the rise in crime against black transgender persons.
The executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, David John aired out his frustration over the painful reality of the accumulating death toll of black transgender people.
In another statement, he said, “It is never lost on me that last year, 2020, was the deadliest year on record when thinking about the stolen lives of Black trans members of our community, in part because this year we’re on track to outpace last year’s loss.”
Additionally, they also condemned the police for disregarding black transgender men and woman during murder investigations. Too often police either deadname or misgender the victims during criminal investigations. By doing so, they essentially contribute to the misrepresentation and hatred that queer people in general face daily.
“To altogether dismiss the possibility of her being transgender as a motivating factor is pretty negligent on the part of the police,” Faith Gingrich Goetz, political co-chair of the HRC Greater Cincinnati steering committee, said at the time. It’s a sad reality indeed.
The LGBTQ community suffered several losses last year during the pandemic. Now the same is true for this year. Making matters worse, activists note that 2021 will more than likely out beat 2020. Sadly, Sanders’ death marks her as the 11th trans, non-binary or gender nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S this year.
Unfortunately, the laws in Ohio don’t help to mandate the crimes set against black transgender people, especially women like Diamond Kyree Sanders. Sources note that the state of Ohio doesn’t outline a law that specifically bans a discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Even more disturbing, it’s hate-crime laws don’t protect queer people from attacks at all.
Clearly, the state and government laws require some major revisions, especially when it comes to outlining hate-crimes against LGBTQ people. The laws should be more inclusive towards non-binary and queer people, and especially black LGBTQ individuals. The government sill has a long way to go before reaching that goal. In the meantime, the state has taken baby steps by delivering justice for Diamond Kyree Sanders.