Berkeley Groups Mark Birthday of Transgender Woman Who Died in Police Custody

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday April 17, 2013 - 05:44:00 PM

Several Berkeley community groups will hold an event tonight to mark the birthday of a mentally ill transgender woman who died in a struggle with officers two months ago. 

Today would have been the 42nd birthday for Kayla Moore, also known as Xavier Moore, who died after the incident at the Gaia Building in the 2100 block of Allston Way shortly before midnight on Feb. 12. 

Members of Berkeley Copwatch and the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley will hold a memorial celebration for Moore in front of the Gaia Building at 2116 Allston Way at 5 p.m. tonight and then will hold a news conference in front of Berkeley police headquarters at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way at 6:15 p.m. to ask that public records about the incident be released. 

Berkeley police said the day after the incident that they went to Moore's home on a disturbance call and during the contact Moore "became increasingly agitated and uncooperative to the officer's verbal commands and began to scream and violently resist." 

Police said officers eventually gained control of Moore and placed her under restraints but while she was under the restraints they discovered she wasn't breathing. Police said officers performed CPR on Moore and she was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

The organizers of tonight's events said the Berkeley Police Department has provided very little information about the February incident and, according to the Alameda County coroner's bureau, has asked that the autopsy report on Moore be placed on hold for up to six to eight months. 

Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats wasn't immediately available for comment today. 

Coats said in a statement on February, "There are significant constrains 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." 

Coats said, "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." 

Moore's stepmother, Elysse Paige-Moore, said in a statement released by the organizers of tonight's events that, "Xavier had a very difficult life but an indomitable spirit. He suffered with mental illness from an early age, struggling throughout his life with paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress syndrome." 

Paige-Moore said, "He was a poet and a gifted singer and oh could he dance even at 350 pounds!"