Tag Archives: Kayla Moore
A U.S. District Court judge has rejected the majority of a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Berkeley that criticized the way police officers handled a 2013 call involving a transgender woman in a mental health crisis.
The woman, 41-year-old Kayla Moore, stopped breathing and died after police struggled with her to take her into custody. The family filed a lawsuit in 2014 taking issue with the police response, alleging excessive force and unfair treatment because Moore was transgender.
Monday, about 50 supporters of the wrongful death suit rallied outside the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco and pledged to continue the fight. A hearing had been scheduled for Monday where attorneys for the family believed they would be able to present arguments, but those plans changed abruptly Friday when Judge Charles R. Breyer issued a ruling that threw out the bulk of the suit.
Read complete background on the case.
The city of Berkeley filed a motion for summary judgment in June essentially arguing that the family had neither the evidence nor the facts to back up the wrongful death suit. The city says officers used “minimal force” and have “qualified immunity” under the law as to the force they did use.
Friday, Breyer issued a ruling agreeing with much of the city’s argument.
He said officers were essentially justified in trying to take Moore into custody — because she “was clearly in the midst of a paranoid schizophrenic mental health crisis,” according to a police officer’s deposition — and that there was no evidence officers used unreasonable force when she struggled during detention. … Continue reading »
City seeks rejection of wrongful death lawsuit against police; celebrity pathologist disputes cause of death
Attorneys for the city of Berkeley have asked a U.S. District Court judge to reject a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2014 by the father of a transgender woman who died in police custody in 2013.
Representatives for both parties are expected to appear in court Friday morning at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco. If the case moves ahead, the trial itself has been scheduled to begin Oct. 17, according to materials from lawsuit supporters.
Kayla Moore, a 41-year-old Berkeley resident, was in her Allston Way apartment Feb. 12, 2013, when police responded to a disturbance call there, authorities have said. She stopped breathing during a struggle as officers tried to detain her. The Alameda County coroner’s office said Moore — whose given name was Xavier — died due to “acute combined drug intoxication” and pre-existing medical conditions, and ruled her death an accident.
The city filed a motion for summary judgment in June essentially arguing that the family has neither the evidence nor the facts to back up the wrongful death suit. The city says officers used “minimal force” and have “qualified immunity” under the law as to the force they did use.
Oakland attorney John Burris, whose firm is representing Kayla’s father, Arthur Moore, has argued police had no cause to arrest Moore and “used unreasonable force” during the arrest.
To bolster the case, Burris has filed a declaration by Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist who has worked on a variety of high-profile cases in recent decades. Spitz said restraint by the officers made it difficult for Moore to breathe and contributed to her death. … Continue reading »
It’s been three years since Kayla Moore was killed in her home by Berkeley police. What did she do you ask? Was she threatening, was she suicidal, was she a danger to society? No Kayla was mentally ill, black and transgender. Those three criteria alone made her a target, as African Americans, transgender women, and the mentally ill are killed at an alarming rate due to police encounters. It truly is a national crisis.
The reality is the mentally … Continue reading »
Responding to people with mental health issues is the number one drain on police resources in Berkeley, a police officer who specializes in the topic said this week.
Nationally, 10% of police calls are for people having a mental health crisis, according to Berkeley Police Officer Jeff Shannon. In Berkeley, that number is 35% or more. Over the past five years, police have seen a 43% increase in calls for “5150s,” or people who are a danger to themselves or others, he said.
“Not only in Berkeley, but across the nation, we are experiencing a mental health crisis,” Shannon told members of the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee on Monday. “We are seeing way more people who are sick, way more people who are in crisis, who need help, than we have capacity.” … Continue reading »
After canceling its regular session last week, the Berkeley City Council is set to hold two back-to-back meetings Tuesday night at Longfellow Middle School.
During those events, two separate groups have announced plans to protest in Berkeley. Separately, the Berkeley Unified School District has announced a panel discussion this week, for BUSD families only, regarding police-related fatalities. It remains to be seen how protest activities might affect the scheduled city meetings, but officials say they are preparing for a large turnout.
City officials canceled the Dec. 9 council meeting after protesters announced plans to take it over and shut it down. Officials said the regular meeting location, at Old City Hall, could not handle the expected capacity, and postponed the meeting to an undetermined date just hours before it was set to begin.
See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.
Some activists had announced plans earlier this month to “shut down” the Dec. 9 meeting to protest decisions made by the Berkeley Police Department to teargas and fire projectiles at demonstrators who refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on Dec. 6. (Berkeleyside has submitted a lengthy list of questions to police about this incident and has been told responses are forthcoming.)
Late last week, city staff said council’s Dec. 9 agenda will be heard Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the auditorium of Longfellow Middle School, at 1500 Derby St. at 5:30 p.m. A special worksession on the Adeline corridor originally scheduled for that time has been canceled. … Continue reading »
More than 100 community members turned out to the Berkeley Public Library over the weekend to share or hear stories about what they believe is on-going racial profiling and harassment of minorities in Berkeley by local police officers.
The Berkeley NAACP organized the standing-room-only event, entitled “Berkeley Police – Power & Abuse,” at the south branch of the library Saturday afternoon.
Local residents, and representatives from the Berkeley NAACP and the Berkeley/North East Bay Chapter of the ACLU, took turns describing experiences they have had, or heard about, with the Berkeley Police Department. (Police were not invited to attend the session, Police Chief Michael Meehan said last week.)
A member of Berkeley’s Peace & Justice Commission, George Lippman, also informed attendees about a proposal approved in March by the Police Review Commission under which officers would report demographic data for police stops in a format that would be available for public review. That recommendation would allow the community to assess who is getting stopped and, according to advocates, discourage officers from paying unfair attention to any particular group. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley is on the hunt to determine who released private police personnel documents related to a confidential investigation — into an in-custody death involving local officers last year — to UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian newspaper.
Thursday evening, Berkeley city manager Christine Daniel notified the mayor and council members about the leak, which she described to them via email as “an unfortunate and concerning event that occurred regarding confidential police personnel information.”
Daniel wrote that the Daily Cal had told the city it had gotten “confidential personnel-specific findings” from the Police Review Commission’s inquest into the in-custody death of Kayla Moore last year. (Moore’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city over that fatality.)
According to a letter from an attorney representing the Berkeley Police Association (BPA) — the union for local officers — the release of that information is a criminal offense. Attorney Harry Stern, of Rains Lucia Stern, wrote also that the Police Review Commission (PRC) could be subject to civil liability “for this invasion of privacy and defamation.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley police used excessive force when attempting to arrest Kayla Moore and declined to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she stopped breathing because they considered her transgender status as something objectionable, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday.
At least one Berkeley Police officer who responded to reports of a disturbance at Moore’s apartment at the Gaia Building on Allston Way on Feb. 13, 2013, referred to Moore as “it,” according to the lawsuit. … Continue reading »
One year after Kayla Moore died during a police investigation into a disturbance at her downtown Berkeley home, family members and supporters are still fighting for what they say are needed changes in how local authorities handle mental health crises throughout the city.
A rally and vigil for Moore are planned Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Gaia Apartments, at 2116 Allston Way, where Moore had lived in the months preceding her death. That event will be followed at 7 p.m. by a “speakout” before the city’s Police Review Commission at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St.
Next week, a two-day commission hearing on the circumstances surrounding Moore’s death is expected to conclude with a vote, or votes, related to what happened after police responded to Moore’s home just before midnight Feb. 12, 2013, when a friend of Moore’s, concerned about her mental and physical state, called police for help. Neither the hearing nor its outcome is open to the public because it’s considered a personnel matter, which is protected by confidentiality laws. … Continue reading »
Late on Tuesday night, Feb. 12, Berkeley police responded to a dispatch call about a disturbance on Allston Way. Less than two hours later, Xavier (Kayla) Moore was pronounced dead at Alta Bates Hospital.
On Friday May 3, the Berkeley Police Department released its 348-page investigation of what happened that night, the same day that the Alameda County coroner’s report on the death was released. From the two documents, and the many sworn statements within them, it’s possible to reconstruct part of what happened that night.
Moore identified as female, using the name Kayla, but all of the police documents, the coroner’s report and the witness statements refer to Moore as a male.
Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, around 5 or 6 p.m.
John Andre Hayes came home to apartment 514 in the Gaia Building on Allston Way early in the evening. According to Hayes, he and Moore are roommates and have known each other for 15 or more years. … Continue reading »
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.
After a heated public comment period Tuesday night before the Berkeley City Council — which led police officers to drag a man from the room and caused Mayor Tom Bates to shout for order after CopWatch supporters refused to cede the floor — participants in the fight for “justice for Kayla Moore” may be one step closer to discovering what happened the February night Moore died in police custody. (See Berkeleyside’s videos of the incidents below.)
Family members of the deceased Moore told the council they have received no information or communication from police or the city since the death, which took place Feb. 12. The Berkeley Police Department released a preliminary statement on the incident in February, but has otherwise declined to comment while the Alameda County coroner’s office completes its report on the death investigation. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Police Officers Association has sent out a survey to 19,000 Berkeley residents asking them their opinion on police use of Tasers.
The BPA posed seven questions in a March 27 email survey to see whether the community considers Tasers as way to assist police and protect suspects, or the opposite.
“This is a very initial step to find out what the community sense is … and go from there,” said Sgt. Chris Stines, the president of the BPA, which represents more than 150 rank-and-file officers. … Continue reading »