A Cleveland, Ohio trans woman missing since March 27th is the murder victim found in a retaining pond near Olmsted Township on April 17. The Medical Examiner identified Cemia Acoff (akas CiCi, Cemia Dove) through DNA. She was stabbed and thrown into the pond, tethered to a concrete block. There are no details on motives or suspects.
Coverage of this story has been difficult due to the area’s mainstream media’ misgendering of the victim. I learned her name through a Facebook accounting of the story.
My thanks to Jacob Nash and Zoe Renee Lapin for help in providing the victim’s correct name.
Also, my hat’s off to Kara Tucker and Michelle Gould, Monica Roberts and Lilith Von Fraumench for links and tips.
To contact the paper: http://www.cleveland.com/contactus/
This just in . . .
The Human Rights Campaign hits the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper for insulting a trans murder victim in their coverage.
From the HRC:
Cemia Acoff, a transgender woman was brutally murdered outside Cleveland, Ohio. After her body was found, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s initial report engaged in anti-transgender and sensationalist coverage, and they have yet to make amends for the worst of it.
The newspaper’s headlines have read, “Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township pond identified” and “Brutal slaying marks the end of Cleveland man’s fight for acceptance.” Transgender people are the victims of hate crimes at alarming rates and the transgender community faces discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and in the press far too often. The Cleveland Plain Dealer should know better. The paper’s anti-transgender headlines, pronoun misuse, and questionable reporting are reprehensible.
We call on Ohio’s largest newspaper to do right by the entire LGBT community and apologize for its inexcusable coverage of a tragic murder. Cemia Acoff deserves better.
From the Montreal Gazette May 1, 2013:
Following a series of stories that mis-gendered and dehumanized a transgender murder victim in Cleveland, the Plain Dealer newspaper has agreed to meet with local transgender advocates.
Yesterday GLAAD was in touch with the paper throughout the day, as well as Equality Ohio, TransOhio and Cleveland’s LGBT Community Center to address the coverage of Cemia Acoff, who was found dead earlier this month.
The Plain Dealer was the source of two highly problematic stories, titled “Brutal slaying marks the end of Cleveland man’s fight for acceptance” and “Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township pond identified” (The latter had been previously said “Oddly dressed man.”)
The paper aaddressed the mis-gendering by removing pronouns altogether, and removed some of the more sensationalized aspects of the pieces.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer will meet with local transgender advocates and community members to better understand the sensitivity that was missing from its reporting, the way both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times did following similarly insensitive stories.
The Plain Dealer is not the only source of insensitive coverage. We have heard reports that one of the hosts of “Lanigan and Malone” on radio station WMJImade a joke about Ce Ce’s murder, saying (during a segment on a new line of bras for men) “Well, the next time I find myself in a pond in Olmstead Township…”
From WKYC-TV May 1, 2013:
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.
UPDATE — May, 2013. Suspect arrested: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/prosecutor-throws-book-at-murderer-of-cleveland-trans-woman/
UPDATE 2 — Nov. 8, 2013. Convicted. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cuyahoga County jury today found Andrey Bridges guilty of stabbing to death Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove, a 20-year-old transgender woman, during a date at his home in Olmsted Township in January.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about a day before rejecting Bridges’ declarations of innocence made during four hours of recorded police interrogations after his arrest in May.
Seven members of the victim’s family wept silently while Common Pleas Court Judge Hollie L. Gallagher read the guilty verdicts. Afterward, the women embraced and cried openly in the hallway outside the courtroom.”
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