Ithaca Mayor pays Tribute to Josie Berrios, 13th transgender murder this year

Josie Berrios

Josie Berrios

Transgender woman Josie Berrios burned body was found Tuesday morning at a construction site in downtown Ithaca NY. We didn’t know about her murder until now as the media not knowing otherwise, misgendered her keeping news of her murder from us.

Michael Davis, 45, with whom Berrios reportedly had a personal relationship with, has been charged with murder in the second degree and arson in the first degree.

CCTV of the site shows Davis entering and exiting the building without a gas can and duffle bag he carried in. Through a commendable effort by local and state police, the suspect was arrested in less than 24 hours after her body was discovered.

The House of Merlot is an Ithaca based drag performer group posted this to Facebook

“As it has quickly become public knowledge, I feel we must address the events of the last few days.”

“Yesterday morning, one of our performers, Kimbella Rosé as we knew her, was found dead at a construction site in Collegetown. The official word is that she was killed by someone close to her.”

“Kimbella, also known as Kendra Adams or Josie to some was one of our founding members of the House of Merlot before we were even official. She was usually full of energy, rarely on time, and always slayed her performances. A proud trans woman of color, she always tried her best to make new performers feel comfortable in our spaces. She recognised the realness in all of us without question and made us feel beautiful. She was part of so many families here in Ithaca, that many are feeling stunned and lost following this news. Her presence is still felt, and will never be forgotten.”

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick posted this insightful and touching tribute to Josie Berrios on his personal Facebook page. He did this the 13th, the same day he raised the rainbow flag over city hall for Pride month.

“Josie Berrios was killed inside the City of Ithaca. This is a terrible tragedy – and the entire city is mourning with her friends and family.” Myrick wrote.

“The Ithaca Police Department worked efficiently to arrest and charge a man with her murder. I’m grateful for their professionalism and dedication. Because of their work I have high hopes that justice will be served.

I want to recognize Josie’s status as a transgender woman.
“Because even though at this time it doesn’t fit the profile of a hate crime, transgender women are 4.3 times more likely to be murdered than cis women. The reasons for that are complex – and have much to do with transphobia – but I want everyone in the trans community to know that the City of Ithaca, and its Police Department, find that reality to be abhorrent.
We’ll be exploring best practices to see what structural changes could be made.
In the meantime please do keep Josie and her family in your thoughts. And if you or anyone you know needs extra support at this time please call 2-1-1.”

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender



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