Cleveland City Councilman Says Trans Woman's Murder 'Likely a Hate Crime'

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com May 02 2013 2:29 PM ET

As police investigate the murder of a 20-year-old transgender woman near Cleveland, a local city councilman is asking investigators to consider her death a hate crime. 

Cemia “Ci Ci” Dove, of Cleveland, was found dead in a pond near Cleveland Monday. She was stabbed to death, and there was a rope around her waist that was tied to a concrete block and a steel pipe, police told local media at a press conference Monday afternoon. Her body was badly decomposed, indicating she was killed some time ago. She was reported missing March 27, and her body was found April 17 in the pond in Olmsted Township, west of Cleveland. The pond had been used to catch and recycle water runoff from a greenhouse that once operated in the area. A resident of a nearby apartment house discovered her body, and police identified her through DNA. She was born Carl Acoff and was identified earlier as Cemia Acoff; friends say she went by Cemia Dove.

“Cemia lived a trouble life of acceptance,” said Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

Activists have objected to the way Cleveland media, including daily newspaper The Plain Dealer and the Fox TV affiliate, reported on the story, with references to the Dove’s body being “oddly dressed” (in a tank top and bra), describing her as a man even after the discovery of her name and the fact that she identified as female, and discussion of her police record. Find out more about those objections here.