CLEVELAND -- Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman says the recent murder of a Cleveland resident found in an Olmsted Township pond April 17 should be considered a hate crime.
Cimperman said the murder of Carl Acoff -- also known as Cemia Dove and nicknamed Ci Ci -- was reported missing March 27.
Cimperman, along with members and supporters of the transgender community, met outside Cleveland City Hall at 3 p.m. today.
Cimperman said, "Cemia lived a trouble life of acceptance. While Cemia struggled, she did not deserve to die as what is likely a hate crime. Too often we lose loved ones because of fear or hate. Violence should not be tolerated against anyone regardless of race, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation."
"The violent death of this young woman is unconscionable and needs to be addressed," said Jacob Nash, Cleveland Transgender Community Outreach Committee Chair. "Ci Ci was someone's child, but the perpetrator of this horrific crime could not see that."
"I am sure all they saw was someone who was different and trying to live their life the best they knew how. This is the third transgender woman of color murdered in April in the U.S. alone and this needs to stop. We need to break down the barriers and accept people for who they are, regardless, and stop the violence."
Cleveland will be hosting the Gay Games in 2014 and the Northeast Ohio community has a heightened sensitivity to make sure that there is an appropriate response to this type of crime.