Berkeley Police release statement on in-custody death

Photo: Kaia Diringer

The Berkeley Police Department released the following statement Wednesday night regarding the death in custody earlier this month of 41-year-old Xavier Christopher Moore. Three community groups have planned a press conference for Thursday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m. to express concerns about the death and ask for more information. (Scroll down for details.) Moore’s stepmother, Elysse Paige-Moore, told Berkeleyside that “it’s been a horrible, horrible time for the family, really quite devastating. My husband and daughter have gone through an extraordinary level of grief. This has been a 40-year battle to protect my child who has serious biologic mental health problems.” She also expressed remorse that “the laws didn’t allow us to do more to care for and protect him.”


We received some additional inquiries regarding the recent death of a person during contact with our officers. Though we are limited in terms of sharing specific details of this ongoing investigation, we wanted to offer some context where we can, as hopefully this may be of some use to you.

We understand the community’s concern over this incident, and the desire to have as much information about this incident as possible.

As you may know, any investigation involving a death such as this includes thorough and detailed interviews with all witnesses and involved parties, the collection and analysis of all available evidence, and preparation of appropriate reports. The Alameda County Coroner’s office is conducting their concurrent death investigation as well.

There are significant constraints in place regarding the immediate release of information in a case such as this, and we can’t comment on specific information or even address inaccuracies which may be expressed in public discussion regarding this incident.

The Berkeley Police Department has a long history of working with respect and sensitivity to mental health issues in our community and among people with whom we come into contact. Our department has a positive reputation in the community for its interactions with mental health consumers.

Furthermore, we are increasing our level of service and expertise in this area through our Department’s new Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program. This program is based on a national, best-practices model for police interactions with people with mental health issues. These training efforts, and the expansion of the program, are continuing throughout the year.

A thorough investigation takes time. We are obliged to wait for the evidence to be examined, the facts to be determined, and the investigation to be completed.

We are committed to conducting a sensitive and thorough investigation, fair to everyone involved, from the family and friends of the decedent, to the officers and firefighters who tried to save the decedent’s life.


Who: Coalition For a Safe Berkeley, Berkeley Copwatch, Amnesty International UCB Chapter
What: Press Conference
Where: 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley
When: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 10 a.m.

As details of the tragic death of 41 year old Berkeley resident Xavier Christopher Moore in police custody begin to emerge, residents are asking why this person died and why police are slow to release information in this case.

According to Berkeley Police, officers were dispatched for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 pm on February 12, 2013, although neighbors on the same floor heard no disturbance until the police arrived.

After officers appeared at Moore’s residence the situation escalated, and shortly thereafter Moore died in police custody. Neighbors observed officers carrying Moore on a gurney, unconscious and in restraints, out of the building. In a city that is known internationally for disability awareness, social consciousness and protection of civil liberties, it is unacceptable that a mental health evaluation should end in death.

We are calling on advocates and individuals in the mental health community, civil and human rights, anti-racism and LGBTQ rights communities to demand answers from the City of Berkeley as to what happened that night. If misconduct has occurred, officers must be disciplined. If it was a failure of policy and administration, the public must be allowed to analyze the case and to assist in addressing this breakdown in city services. In any case, we demand that the Berkeley Police Department comply with Public Records Act requests and that they make information about that night’s events available to the public as quickly as possible.

Name released after death in custody, cause unknown [02.22.13]
Man dies after struggle with Berkeley Police [02.13.13]

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  • Oaks

    So we don’t have a coroners report yet, nor is the BPD allowed by law to release details to the public ( to protect those they arrest ) and yet everyone has already condemned the BPD.
    I don’t think responsible conclusions are being reached here , only emotional public judgements & grandstanding .

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Editors, your summary describes the three groups “asking” for information, but their statement says — twice — that they “demand” it. While subtle, I think this is an important distinction insofar as it highlights the confrontational tone with which they’ve chosen to approach a situation where they have few facts and yet are already prejudging the outcome.

    Calls for “officer discipline” and the description of a “breakdown in city services” are very premature.

  • dsd510

    Someone was killed by the police. They have every right to be be what you refer to as, “confrontational.” They’re not posted up outside of the BPD headquarters with weapons, they’re simply stating the need for information.

  • bgal4

    Hyperbolic nonsense, verging on LIES.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    We do not know if someone was killed “by the police” as you put it. We know that someone died in police custody, which is not the same thing.

    And they aren’t “simply stating the need for information.” They’re demanding it, which is also not the same thing. They’re also calling for disciplinary action and assuming that there was a “breakdown in city services” when we do not yet have the facts to support either claim.

    The posture of these folks might make sense in a community where the police performed poorly on a regular basis or were habitually insensitive to the needs of the community. That isn’t remotely true of Berkeley’s police department.

  • somebody had to ask

    On a side-note, one thing I’ve been curious to know is how a morbidly-obeses, cross-dressing, schizophrenic meth-head pulls down enough income to have an apartment in the Gaia building. For point of reference, the only sublet I could find on Craigslist was going for about $50/sqft per month.


  • somebody

    Sorry, decimal point error .. $5.20/sqft. Here’s the link .. http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/apa/3649926651.html

    Point remains.

  • bgal4

    HUD project based unit.

  • sometardo

    So, in large part this whole situation is public policy blow-back.

  • batardo

    More likely root cause was a combination of morbid obesity and drugs. I’ll put $20 on heart-attack ..
    I think it’s a question or proximal vs. causal relationship. Lose/lose for the cops, first for having to go take care of this mess and then dealing with idiots in this town.

  • bgal4


    r u all the same person, batardo, somtardo, tardo,and retard comments?

  • Mental health “consumers”? What does that even mean? We are CITIZENS not “consumers” in relation to the BPD.

  • batardo(heart)laura

    “Pat, I’d like to buy a chromosome, please..”

  • batard

    Actually Laura, I’m a loaf of bread.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Healthcare provider/consumer is insurance speak. Inelegant but not unusual.

    In a “sanctuary city” not everyone is a citizen, so you’ll need another option if you dont like consumer.

  • loaf

    BPD provides “services” to the community. The individuals who receive those services individually are their “consumers”. Why does the semantics offend you so?

    Agreed we are citizens, but that does not define my status in relationship to BPD. That’s absurd, actually.

  • The_Sharkey

    Her question is reasonable. It’s difficult to tell if you’re one person posting using multiple similar screen names, or if someone else is using screen names similar to yours to try to confuse readers.

  • ILTF

    Excited delirium?

  • bgal4

    please don’t ruin the reputation of the wondrous Acme batard bread, a household favorite.

    You seem quite disingenuous, sadly.

  • Charles_Siegel

    “Mental health consumers” is a strange phrase. They are talking about consumers of mental health services. It is hard to imagine consuming mental health.

  • It does not take over 2 weeks to do an autopsy and determine cause of death. These circumstances give rise to the implication there is a cover-up going on here.
    Also, the police would have gone to the family expressing their concern and dismay over Xavier’s death and questioning them to determine if there is anything in his past or even what he ate that day that will give them an excuse for Xavier’s death.

  • 4Eenie

    Peoples Park Berkeley Ca: How do you know how long it takes to do an autopsy and determine cause of death in these circumstances? So the BPD is lying about that, and others are helping by covering up for BPD? And why do you say the police “would have” gone to the family if they weren’t covering up? You speak as though you have great authority over this case, but I think that you have an extremely unrealistic and simplistic view of what formal protocol has to happen in situations like this. Unless you can back up your statements, you are simply spreading your ignorance and cop hatred, and quite unconvincingly and pathetically at that.

  • 4Eenie

    not cute, not funny. just annoying baiting of bgal4here. Why?

  • Mel

    I’m pretty shocked that you think it’s OK to use the word retard.

  • not_batard

    nah: it’s funny.

  • bgal4


    Yeah I don’t clinch to stale piety

    send a letter of outrage to the Black Eyes Peas and to younger generation who has changed the word meaning over the last decade.

  • batard

    Oh the irony, getting schooled on the etiquette of online anonymity by the likes of “The_Sharkey” and “bgal4”. Ay carumba.

  • guest

    “It does not take over 2 weeks to do an autopsy and determine cause of death.”

    My husband and I waited at least two months to get COD of our son.

  • The_Sharkey

    I hassle people when I have a point to make. You just seem to be hassling for the hell of it. There’s a difference there.

  • Belly Up

    Oh, c’mon Prag, you’re very intelligent and clearly interested in ascertaining truth, so how can you say the BPD are not (or are) ‘habitually insensitive to the needs of the community’? First off, there are multiple communities in Berkeley, and I’d be willing to bet that they all don’t receive the same treatment. Hey, the police chief’s kid has a full team of officers go after his stolen i-whatever; you can bet that doesn’t happen city-wide, right?

    I actually agree with your first 2 comments, but I get cautious when I see blanket statements or generalizations like your last paragraph; there’s simply no way to corroborate it! And even if poor police performance or insensitivity to the needs of our various communities were not habitual, they certainly do exist on some level. Once you’ve been lied to by a cop, or seen them abuse a citizen or twist the rules to their own advantage, well, it makes one cynical about the possibilities when someone dies in their custody. From where I sit, some BPD officers have done plenty to earn distrust from some of the citizens they serve, and it unfortunately reflects badly on the good ones.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    All of my experience — and that of my acquaintances — with BPD has been superlative. I have, in other cities, seen officers who misbehaved or who were frankly foolish (I got a ticket 20 years ago from one who said “look sir, I don’t know the law; I just enforce it”). But in my 13 years here, I’ve found the police to be professional, responsive, and helpful. I just don’t have any counterexamples to suggest that the skepticism — let alone cynicism — you advocate is warranted.

    In any event, in this case I am content to wait for the evidence and am opposed to the rush to judgment demonstrated by Copwatch et al.

  • franhaselsteiner

    Now I’m agreeing with you! What is the world coming to?

  • Xavier Christopher Moore was my best friend! I am so very saddened and shocked by the Berkeley Police Department I don’t know how this happened but something needs to be done about this.