Coroner, police deliver reports on Xavier Moore death

Caption goes here

Kayla Moore’s sister, Maria, and father, Arthur, at a rally Tuesday night to demand more information about Moore’s in-custody death. The coroner released its report on the cause of death today. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Xavier (Kayla) Moore died because of “acute combined drug intoxication,” according to the Alameda County Coroner’s report released today. The coroner ruled the death accidental. The 41-year-old Moore stopped breathing while being taken into police custody on Feb. 12 at the Gaia Building on Allston Way. Moore was pronounced dead at 1:34 a.m. on Feb. 13 at Alta Bates Hospital.

Since Moore’s death, there have been protests about the role of the police, culminating in a heated public comment session at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

The autopsy of Moore revealed 0.74 mg/L of methamphetamine and 0.34 mg/L of codeine in a blood sample, levels the coroner described as “toxic.” Additionally, the coroner identified cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) and morbid obesity. Moore weighed 347 pounds.

Berkeley Police Department also released today its 348-page investigation into Moore’s death. The core of the report, written by Sgt. Peter Hong from the homicide squad, concludes that Moore was in violation of California Penal Code 69, resisting arrest, and that the physical force used by the police to overcome Moore’s resistance and to effect Moore’s arrest was reasonable. It also concluded “the involved officers had the authority and probable cause to take Xavier Moore into custody for the outstanding warrant and for a WI 5150 evaluation.” The police received a 911 call about a disturbance on the fifth floor of the Gaia building just before midnight on Feb. 12. Berkeleyside will have in-depth coverage of the police report on Monday.

Elysse Paige-Moore, Moore’s mother, had not seen either the coroner’s report or the BPD report this evening, although she had been given the top-line results from the coroner’s report.

“It’s premature to make any comments as I have not seen the full report,” she said. “I want to look at the coroner’s report. I want to know the condition of my son’s body.”

Paige-Moore criticized the way police handled the incident.

“The way to handle a mentally ill person is not typically to use a taser or to use force,” she said. “This is clearly not what happened. We are working with CopWatch to pursue the investigation and make sure change is implemented in Berkeley.”

Related:
Emotional please prompt call for Kayla Moore report [04.01.13]
Police union: Should Berkeley have Tasers? [04.02.3013]
Anti-police demonstrators march in downtown Berkeley [03.13.13]
Berkeley Police release statement on in-custody death [02.28.13]
Name released after death in custody, cause unknown [02.22.13]
Man dies after struggle with Berkeley Police [02.13.13]

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid.

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  • soij

    “The way to handle a mentally ill person is not typically to use a taser or to use force,”

    I support taking someone into custody if needed with as little stress for the suspect as possible while keeping the police and the public safe.

    I am not sure how with a mentally ill person (or anyone for that matter) you can always do this without force.

    Those whole episode is sad.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    OK cop watch, let’s hear how it’s all bpd’s fault that Moore was morbidly obese and high on meth AND narcotics.

  • guest

    Let’s combine CopWatch with another local group of equally integrity, Code Pink: “Pink Eye”!

  • Truth Sayer

    The amounts of drugs stated, 0.74 mg/L of methamphetamine and 0.34 mg/L of codeine, is not enough to cause death. Did the police and other officials think that people would not know?

  • guest

    Which is precisely why the report said “toxic” levels, not lethal. The report most likely cites several contributing causes. We’ll have to wait to read and judge.

  • bgal4

    Maybe in a healthy person, but factor in schizophrenia, the interaction of drugs used to treat the brain disorder plus morbid obesity and you have a complicated pathophysiology.

    Maybe the city should allow police to videotape this incidents. There are plenty of videos showing the challenges faced by first responders in excited delirium cases.

    Was Ms Moore disrobed, hot, sweating, babbling uncontrollably? What behaviors did she exhibit causing people to call police in the first place?

  • Truth Sayer

    For someone who knows little of his medical and physical condition, you take liberties on providing every conceivable negative disorder you could possibly think of to justify his death. Based upon what you stated, I see you have already prejudged.

  • 4eenie

    Hypocritical much?

  • longviewer1

    Lance, it is common practice to refer to transgender women in media reports and elsewhere as “she.” This is the case at virtually all publications and sites now, including the NY Times, Wash Post, LA Times, SF Chron, etc. Please change the pronoun in your article to conform to the gender by which she, Kayla, was known. Thank you.

  • Frances Dinkelspiel

    Longviewer, this was a difficult call. We know that it is common practice to refer to transgender people with the gender they adopt. However, we have no evidence that Moore had undergone any sex reassignment surgery. Moore’s father referred to his child as a “he” at the city council meeting. The police identified Moore as a man in their reports as did the coroner. It was Copwatch that said Moore was a transgender female. We want to be sensitive but feel we do not have enough information about Moore to use the female pronoun. However, I have changed the one place in this store that uses a “he” with “Moore,”

  • Truth Sayer

    Nope, based upon the information.

  • Johnd

    I think the report said the levels were toxic, not lethal. “Truth Sayer”, can you point to the portion which says these amounts are lethal?

    I’m somewhat surprised by the report, as I had expected a less loaded blood result. The obesity alone is a risk factor I would expect in any kind of physical situation and was what I casually had considered might be the factor involved. As far as I can tell, the blood levels of drugs are potentially harmful (ie toxic) in this case.

    Isn’t this dosage something like 50 – 100x higher than therapeutic amounts, particularly with a compressed dosing in terms of time? “The data show that most methamphetamine deaths occur with blood concentrations greater than 0.5 mg/L, but can occur with levels as low as 0.05 mg/L, though usually in conjunction with other drugs or significant natural disease. Neither apparently toxic nor therapeutic concentrations should be used in isolation to establish conclusively whether a death was caused by methamphetamine; proper classification of deaths involving methamphetamine requires complete death investigation, including investigation of the scene and circumstances of death, and a complete autopsy.” – Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98134, USA.

    It will be important to read this report after hearing the copwatch side of things which depicted a peaceful person being arrested and killed by police for no reason and was very disturbing to me.

  • Johnd

    The deceased’s mother and father appear to be using “he” and “son”. An important issue for sure! That said, perhaps we can give Berkeleyside the benefit of the doubt in that they may have thought about this a bit.

    I’ve been following copwatch and now longviewer demanding and asserting many things … could we get a bit more support for these items? Thank you.

  • Charles_Siegel

    She didn’t quite provide every conceivable disorder. Moore’s step-mother said that Moore was also a heavy smoker and drank.

    “Her stepson, who weighed 347 pounds, was paranoid schizophrenic, a heavy smoker and used alcohol, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, she said. He also was transgender and passed as a woman, she said.”
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_22671948/berkeley-man-who-died-after-struggle-police-was

    Notice that the police decided to arrest Moore when they found that Moore had a warrant for assault in San Francisco. This warrant seems to mean that Moore was potentially violent, which would justify the police using some amount of force.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Regarding “He [...] passed as a woman”: at 347 pounds, this seems unlikely. I mean, sure, he might have identified as a woman, but it’s hard to imagine that too many people mistook him for one.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    A tough call indeed — sounds like you made the best possible choice.

  • lgbt

    Frances,

    However, we have no evidence that Moore had undergone any sex reassignment surgery.

    The LGBT community and both the AP and NYT style guides agree that surgical status or other medical status do not determine appropriate pronoun choice. What does matter is the preference of pronoun of the individual or, if that is unknown, the person’s public life.

    It is a crude, cruel myth to insist that surgery is necessary to be legitimately transgendered, or that ones surgical status must become public record before one’s gender identity is socially recognized. You risk perpetuating that myth.

    It was Copwatch that said Moore was a transgender female.

    Berkeleyside has cited as authority some of the comments of Moore’s mother, Paige-Moore, as reported by Doug Oakley (February 28).

    You are willing to take mom’s word (via Oakley) that Moore had mental health problems.

    Yet Oakley also reported that Paige-Moore described Kayla as transgendered. (And do you not also have record of at least one of the parents using Moore’s chosen, female name?)

    That Moore’s parents also use masculine pronouns and refer to Moore as their son is hardly unusual among transgendered people. It doesn’t trump the principle of self-determination that the style guides are trying to uphold.

    Henry Lee (Chronicle, May 4) provides a good example.

  • guest

    There are reasons to believe gender confusion exists, Kayla may not have been confused, but her family’s statements were confusing. The coverage accurately depicts that.

  • guest

    Unless we create a new standard; “political truth”, the truth trumps political correctness and agendafying.

  • prefer no name, fear attack

    This article is about whether the police used excessive force, correct? Isn’t it really off-topic to be making the many accusations re whether the correct gender terminology is used? Is that really as important right now? Especially with the confusion of family statements? IOW, WGAF?

  • a.guest

    Go back to your own blog, tom.

  • guest

    “I see you have already prejudged.”

  • John Holland

    A little googling will tell you that that is a very high concentration of meth.

  • guest

    In order for this post to have even the smallest shared of credibility, you need to post your training and experience as an MD and ME as well as your personal knowledge of this specific PM exam and what exactly is incorrect about it.

  • guest

    *shred*

  • Truth Sayer

    I know that its an arduous task for you to understand, but you must remember thatI never alluded or suggesters conditions related to his death that was not in the article, Regarding the necessity for me to post my qualifications, I have no expectations that you would believe me, nor would I care. Need I repeat myself? or could you find your way back to my original posting which only referenced the amounts of drugs in his system was 0.74 mg/L of methamphetamine and 0.34 mg/L of codeine, which was not enough to cause death. End of story “guest”

  • guest

    So…no credential or information then?

  • Mike

    I am not an expert, but from the book below (1, pg 37, under the Concentration heading, available as an eBook on Google but for some reason I can’t post the link): “Most deaths related to methamphetamines are associated with postmortem methamphetamine concentrations exceeding .5-1 mg/L.” Also, the lowest postmortem concentration was .09 mg/L, with a median of .96 mg/L. In accidental overdoses, the mean was .980 mg/L. Note that these were cases where methamphetamine was the only drug involved.

    It is impossible to determine if the combination of .74 mg/L methamphetamine and .34 mg/L of codeine were or were not the cause of death. However, these levels of methamphetamine seem to be generally consistent with postmortem concentrations in other methamphetamine related deaths.

    1) Medical Toxicology of Drug Abuse: Synthesized Chemicals and Psychoactive Plants, by Donald G. Barceloux

  • guest

    The sun came up. Did you see it?