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  • Diano Johnson

Arrests Continue in String of Murders of Black Gay Men

By |2019-07-16T12:47:38-04:00July 15th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Anthony Brock and Darnell Wilson, both of Detroit, have been charged in the June 19 shooting death of Diano Johnson. Authorities believe Brock, 28, lured Johnson to meet with him after communicating with him via Facebook. But when they met, Brock forced Johnson into the trunk of his own car. Authorities say Brock then drove to pick up Wilson, 30, before the pair drove Johnson’s car to the east side of the city. There, Johnson was shot multiple times and his car set on fire.
Brock and Wilson were charged Saturday with first-degree murder as well as carjacking, unlawful imprisonment, felon in possession of a firearm and six counts of felony firearm. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the case would be handled by Jaimie Powell Horowitz, special prosecutor for the Fair Michigan Justice Project, which focuses on homicides and other capital offenses committed against members of the LGBTQ community.
“When members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community are targets of violence, the Fair Michigan Justice Project is ready to vigorously prosecute these cases,” said Alanna Maguire, Fair Michigan’s president. “These horrifying allegations demonstrate the ongoing need for determined efforts to bring justice for all.”

Arrest in shooting death of Brian Anderson
Fair Michigan has been especially busy as of late. In the past two months, four black gay men and one black trans woman have been apparently targeted and killed. In addition, a sixth victim was assaulted and seriously injured.
On July 12, 26-year-old Demetris Nelson was charged with first-degree murder and other charges in the July 6 shooting death of Brian Anderson, 31. Malcolm Drake, 26, was also shot and wounded in what authorities have called a robbery attempt. Similarly to the Diano Johnson case, Anderson and Drake were allegedly lured to meet Nelson through a social media phone app.
“The allegations are that social media contacts were used to target, contact, rob, fatally shoot one gay man and seriously wound another gay man,” Worthy said of case in a statement. “To some, this will be just another hateful and violent act in America. They will read about this case and continue to go about their day. To me, that is quite tragic.”
Earlier this June, 18-year-old Devon Robinson was charged and arraigned in the shooting deaths of Alunte Davis, 21, Timothy Blancher, 20, and Paris Cameron, 20, all from Detroit. In that case, which is also being handled by Horowitz, the victims were also believed to have been targeted based on their sexual orientation and gender identities.
“Tragically, members of the greater Detroit LGBTQ community continue to be targets of acts of violence that have killed or seriously injured individuals,” said Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan. “Enough is enough as too many lives have been lost or ruined.”
Knott also called on the community to take precautions when arranging to meet someone you met online or through a phone app, and to pressure the state legislature to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“LGBTQ Michiganders must be vigilant and take extra precautions in a world today that is filled with bigotry and hatred because of who we are and who we love,” Knott said. “It is inexcusable that the Michigan legislature has not stood up to the never-ending acts of violence and discrimination facing LGBTQ individuals. Until they act, Equality Michigan’s Department of Victim Services is here to help community members in crisis. You can call our team at 313-537-7000.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.