Cops or Counselors? The Crisis in Berkeley’s Mental Health System
Join us for a public examination of Berkeley’s Emergency Mental Health Services and whether Police should even be involved as responders.
Tasers, spit hoods, pepper spray, hog-tie and “the Wrap”: Is this what Berkeley means by the term “Mental Health Services”? Numerous incidents in Berkeleyshow that the “compassionate care” we thought was being given by mental health care professionals has deteriorated into the systematic use of brute force against those in crisis.
SPEAKERS* VIDEOS CLIPS* WORKSHOP
Updates on the People’s Investigation into the in-custody death of Kayla Moore at the hands of the Berkeley Police Department
Free and Open to the Public
May 30th 7pm
East Bay Media Center
1939 Addison Street(Btw MLK and Milvia)
sponsored by Berkeley Copwatch (berkeleycopwatch @yahoo.com)
We demand that BPD allow the release of the Coroner’s report and the police report of what happened to Kayla (Xavier) Moore on the night of February 12-13.
Berkeley City Council
Tuesday, April 30th
2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Rally at 6:00pm and speak out at 7:00pm
- BPD has asked the Coroner to delay release of the autopsy for up to 8 months.
- BPD has not released any information about their investigation but the officers involved have all been returned to their job.
- The District Attorney is not even investigating this incident for possible criminal conduct because, “ It wasn’t an officer involved shooting”.
We Hold the Mayor, The City Manager and the City Council responsible for what happened. The city leadership has allowed police to function without accountability and mental health services to be provided by aggressive cops.
Berkeley Police may have taken her body, but her spirit lives on!
Celebrate the Life of
Kayla (Xavier) Moore
4-17-71 to 2-13-13
On what would have been Kayla Moore’s 42nd birthday, we invite all justice (and fun) loving people to join us for a remembrance and get-to-know you event in celebration of her life. You see, we are also forging a movement to demand justice for Kayla Moore. Since the night of February 12, 2013 when police claimed to be responding to a call about a “disturbance” on the 5th Floor of the Gaia Building in downtown Berkeley, the BPD has provided almost no information about what happened that night. What we know is that the officers involved have all been returned to work. However, BPD Chief Meehan maintains that he can’t release info until the investigation is over. According to the Coroner’s office, the BPD has asked that a “hold” be placed on the release of the autopsy report. They say it could take 6-8 months to release. What kind of cover up is BPD trying to pull?
Wednesday April 17th 2013 5:00pm
Meet at 2116 Allston Way (near Shattuck Ave.)
We will deliver a PRA to the Berkeley Police at
2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Wy
Endorsed by Coalition for a Safe Berkeley. For info check Berkeley Copwatch at
As we consider the recent incidents involving BPD and Kayla (Xavier) Moore and Jeremy Carter, Berkeley Copwatch has gone back to our witness archives, and pulled this from January 14th, 2010:
“On Thursday January 14th at approximately 7:10pm, I was walking with my friend on Telegraph Ave. When we got near the intersection of Telegraph and Dwight Way, we saw several police cars with flashing lights. There were about five BPD vehicles, one UCPD car, two plain clothed individuals who I recognized as members of the Mobile Crisis Unit. Members of the public were present and watching from the sidewalk. They were much closer to the officers than I was.
I was on the sidewalk while I tried to notice who was involved and what was happening. I saw a black man in the street with 5-6 cops working to restrain him. His legs were in a “wrap” (the apparatus used to bind the legs of a suspect together . He was handcuffed and his upper body was tied so that he could only be in an upright, sitting position. There was also a white “spit” hood covering his entire face.
As I spoke with witnesses I was told the following:
The man’s hand was broken and that is one reason why he was complaining so loudly.
Both (homeless men) confirmed that the detainee had actually been assaulted by two men. He had managed to punch one of them and them he punched something else and his hand was injured.
Police arrived and handcuffed the man. According to the witnesses, the man did not start yelling until the police told him that he was going to jail.
I asked the men if the police had interviewed them and they said “no”, none of the cops had asked for witnesses. They said that the police had asked two (white) men in a jeep what they had seen, but they had not been asked for information.
The Mobile Crisis Unit people had left the scene and at 7:26pm, the BFD Paramedic van arrived. I assume the man refused medical treatment because none was given. The man, instead of being strapped into the ambulance was tossed, hog-tied and hooded, into the back of a BPD van and driven somewhere. I saw his legs high in the air and over his head. Citizens were kept so far from the scene that it was not possible to identify many of the officers involved. No officers on scene would tell me who the arresting officer was.”
Compare this photo to this footage of Jeremy Carter, recorded on March 13, 2013:
Berkeley Copwatch was present yesterday at the City of Berkeley’s Mental Health Commission meeting. One of the items on their agenda was the in-custody death of Kayla (Xavier) Moore, a mentally ill, transgendered woman who died at the hands of the police. In addition to having said virtually nothing publicly about her death, the Berkeley Police Department has said they would like to share but they aren’t legally allowed to. This isn’t true. The police are allowed to release information such as dispatch logs, radio transmissions, and other records…they don’t want to, so they say they legally can’t. We have asked for this information, and they deny us this information.
We went to the Mental Health Commission meeting to speak about the death of Kayla (Xavier) Moore, and part of the discussion involved the BPD’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training.This is a program that has been adopted by the Berkeley Police Department, with the ostensible aim of making them better at interacting with mentally ill individuals. Hopefully, instead of just acting like a police officer and escalating and hurting someone badly – maybe very badly – maybe lethally, a police officer would use a better approach to interacting with mentally ill individuals. There is a much bigger discussion as to whether the police are even the appropriate agency for interacting the mentally ill, but that isn’t the point of this article.
“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.”
In the course of attending this meeting we learned some things. One, nobody actually knows how many officers have been CIT trained. The number was “7″ was thrown out, a number which we have heard from another source as well. 7 out of 160+ officers? That’s not that many. But wait…maybe it isn’t 7, we don’t actually know because Sgt. Jeff Shannon of the BPD refuses to communicate with anybody. Two, the training is voluntary, because police officers don’t like this sort of training. One individual brought up that they like their firearms training. Cops like to act like cops. They like batons and pepper spray and Tasers and guns. They don’t want to talk someone through a crisis(see paragraph 2, above). Three, that one of the members of the commission believes it’s always better to accommodate the police because of their psychology. What does that mean? Hmmm…maybe if she thinks they are that dangerous or aggressive, perhaps they shouldn’t be rewarded. The commission as a whole seemed concerned about the fact that CIT training isn’t mandatory, and about Moore’s death, and there are individuals on the commission that are concerned about the status of CIT within the BPD.
The death of Kayla Moore, the secrecy, and the deceitful and evasive practices of the police will continue to be followed by Berkeley Copwatch. How does someone die during an interaction with the police, regardless of the facts, and the BPD are in a position to release no information, and to lie about the reasons they can’t? This situation is partially a product of a consistent lack of serious oversight by the Police Review Commission and the City Council. We will be following this as well.
At approximately 11:20 on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, I witnessed the Berkeley police act in an inexplicably violent and brutal manner toward citizen Jeremy Carter. They acted without provocation.
My co-worker and I were on a coffee break from our jobs in the Human Resources Department of Berkeley Unified School District. We parked on Kitteredge near Shattuck. As we pulled into the parking spot, I saw two officers standing on either side of what appeared to be an African-American youth in front of the Berkeley Public Library, directly across the street from where we had parked. An officer was holding the man’s arm behind his back in what appeared to be an awkward, unnatural angle. Concerned that he was a Berkeley High School student, we exited the car to approach. When we were approximately half way across the street, approximately four additional officers arrived and the young man was thrown and was being held down on the cement. My co-worker returned to get her phone from the car as I proceeded across the street.
I witnessed the young man passively submit to several officers placing a mesh hood taut on his face and proceed to place him in a restraining jacket and then hog-tie him. There was blood smeared across the tight mesh hood at his mouth. I never lost sight of the young man from the time he was standing passively with his arm held behind his back to the time he was on the ground, hooded, bound and bloodied. The young man never showed any resistance, neither physically nor verbally. In fact, as he lay passively, he apologized and told the officers he was scared several times. By this time, several people gathered to watch this horrifying scene, several of whom questioned the police action as the young man was clearly passive, scared and injured. The police reacted aggresively toward the onlookers . At one point, Officer Badge #18 crossed into the street where my co-worker Tracie De Angelis was filming on her cell phone, and violently and aggressively pushed her backward! Moments before he had warned her to back up by pushing her less aggressively.
She complied by moving into the street where he followed her, pushing her harder. I have never witnessed police officers so out of control and impervious to the safety and welfare of citizens. At no time did the restrained young man resist in any way, nor did anyone witnessing the police action act in a way that could be construed as interfering other than to observe, film, and express horror and concern for the young man. When asked by an observer what the young man had done, Officer Badge 18 # responded that he did not have to disclose that. Several people verbalized that the young man needed medical attention, and several of us considered calling 911 ourselves. Finally, after over half an hour of being bloodied, an ambulance arrived whereupon the frightened, passive and injured young man was loaded onto a stretcher, fully wrapped and hooded. This young man, who identified himself as Jeremy Carter, was never the least bit aggressive in any way from the time I spotted him standing upright with his arm pulled behind his back, to the time he was carted away on a stretcher.
As a 45-year old mother and Berkeley School employee, I am shocked by what I witnessed today- the total disregard for human dignity and safety by the Berkeley Police, as well as their demonstration of utter disdain for the everyday citizens expressing concern and exercising right of assembly and speech while showing caring and concern for a fellow citizen who was clearly being abused and injured.
At approx 11:20 am today, March 13, 2013, I witnessed an incident of police brutality of a young, black man on Kittredge St in Berkeley. I parked on Kittredge street for my coffee break. At first there were 2 cop cars with the young man. This took place in front of Berkeley public Library. The cop cars were parked at different angles:one coming from Milvia,one coming from Shattuck. At the beginning, they had the young man with his arm behind his back. We then got out of the car to make sure that nothing further escalated. The next thing we saw was he was put onto the ground face down. He had not resisted arrest. At this point we were not sure why they put him on the ground.
At that point I went to get my phone to film. Somewhere in between the time they put him facedown and I got my phone, another three or four cop cars arrived. The rest I have on videotape but what I can describe is they put a spit mask on him and they hogtied him .You can hear on the videotape that the young man was very scared. He was not resisting arrest at any point in time. At one point, Ofc. number 18 pushed me. You can see on the video. He also pushed me a second time when I was out in the street and threatened to arrest me. The other badge number I could get was number 27. It was when I tried to get closer to get the other officers badge numbers that officer number 18 pushed me. I asked them what they were arresting him for. They would not tell me. I asked them why they hogtied him. They told me he was being violent and aggressive. At no point did I see him be violent or aggressive.
All of it is on videotape and you can see from the video tape that the young man was very scared and was not resisting. I asked him his name. His name was Jeremy Carter. I tried to find out from TJ Curtin who was the sergeant on duty what he was being arrested for, what crime he committed and where they were going to take him: I understand this is to be public information but he would not give me any of that information. At one point I saw blood coming out of Jeremy’s mouth and I was not sure what this was from: perhaps when they put him facedown he was injured. I asked on the videotape (you can hear) if they would be bringing an ambulance because he was bleeding from his mouth. the ambulance did arrive and they put him on a gurney and they would not tell me where they were taking him. You can hear on the tape that I did ask TJ Curtain, the seargent, some questions that he refused to answer. This is a case of police brutality and aggression on a young man who was not a threat in any way.
Originally posted on IndyBay on Saturday, March 16th, 2013
March 18, 2013: Federalization of Police: Update on the Battle to Control OPD
Oakland based civil rights attorney James Chanin will discuss the federalization of Oakland police and the recent movement to hire William Bratton, the champion of “Stop and Frisk” policing. With over 40 years in the struggle for police accountability, from the establishment of the Berkeley Police Review Commission to the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) that guides Oakland’s police, James Chanin is a leading voice in the fight to stop police abuse.
Groups from across Berkeley came together on Thursday morning for a press conference following the death of a woman in police custody to raise questions about police practices, including deadly violence, and the secrecy that shields these actions from public scrutiny. Community members spoke out against police responses to mental illness crises and police violence against transgender people. A People’s Investigation is underway to break the silence, and examine the convergences that led to her death in her own apartment, surrounded by a sizable police force. What happened to Ms. Moore after police arrived for a mental health call? Why did she stop breathing? And if there is something predictable about who dies–disproportionately people of color–when police come to the door, how can the People’s Investigation launched from and by the community help us find answers and fight back together?
In remembering Ms. Xavier Moore, we also remember others–among them, Peter Stewart, killed by police responding to a mental health crisis on the Hoopa Reservation in June of 2007.
This is a statement in response to the February 12th death of an individual named Xavier Christopher Moore. She died during a situation we believe was instigated by the Berkeley Police Department, at her apartment on the fifth floor of 2116 Allston Way, the Gaia Building. Moore has been referred to as a man in police and media reports, but Moore lived her life as a woman, so out of respect we will refer to Moore as “she.”
The BPD’s press release of February 13th says that they responded to “a disturbance call” at Moore’s apartment. Media reports have said this call was related to mental health. If she was going through a mental health crisis, was anyone present trained to respond to that kind of situation, to evaluate, and deescalate? According to an article from February 26th in the Oakland Tribune: “Berkeley: Man who died after struggle with police was severely mentally ill,” rather than take her to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation, when they found out she had an outstanding warrant in San Francisco, they told her they were going to arrest her.
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle dated February 13th “Man dies in struggle with Berkeley police,” mentions “a disturbance between roommates,” as causing the police to arrive. The Daily Californian February 14th article “Man dies after being taken into police custody,” says that other residents heard a “commotion on the fifth floor of the building before the officers arrived on the scene.” None of the witnesses we spoke to heard any sort of commotion or disturbance until after the police arrived. Why the consistent difference? In fact, the police were at Moore’s apartment twice that night. This isn’t mentioned at all by the police or media reports. The police first showed up around 11:00pm, and left without incident. The incident resulting in Moore’s death was the second police visit, occurring around 11:50pm. According to witnesses, when they returned a second time, there was a sizable police presence. Why did they come back an hour later with so many officers? What were they preparing to do?
Perhaps the overriding issue here is that the Berkeley Police haven’t made any public statement except for their initial press release. The coroner, NOT the police department released Moore’s name. Can a person can die during a contact with police – whatever the circumstances – and the police just don’t say anything? Is it because there is an ongoing investigation? Nonsense. When the police don’t release this basic information, something is very wrong. It greatly restricts the potential for accountability.
This gross situation is partly a result of a lack of police oversight in Berkeley. The effectiveness of the Police Review Commission has decreased, and police responses to situations have become increasingly violent. The situation for people of color, young people, houseless people, and those on the margins has steadily deteriorated in recent years. Likewise, our ability to bring issues to the attention of the Police Review Commission, and to have cases heard fairly has decreased. New regulations that are completely biased against complainants make it almost impossible to sustain complaints against a police officer. We can expect more tragic incidents of this kind if nothing changes.
We believe that an unarmed, obese, and schizophrenic woman in her own home should have been responded to by, if anything, mental health professionals. NOT armed police. According to a February 26th article in the Oakland Tribune, the police “originally were going to take him to Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley for a psychiatric evaluation, but then they discovered an outstanding warrant for assault from San Francisco, and police told him they would have to arrest him. At that point he became combative she [Elysse Paige-Moore, Xavier’s stepmother] said.” Was it really more important to arrest her, than to deal with a psychiatric episode that may have brought them there in the first place?
We believe there needs to be an open People’s Investigation. We do not believe the police or the district attorney are concerned with conducting an impartial investigation. We will evaluate the circumstances of this case ourselves.
Berkeley Copwatch is calling immediately for the following.
1) Access to dispatch records to determine what the police who responded to the call were told before they arrived. A Public Records Act request has been filed regarding this, and we expect documents to be released in full and without delay.
2) Access to all police reports, witness statements, and related information to this case.
According to an article at Salon.com, from December 10 of last year “Half of people shot by police are mentally ill, investigation finds,” not only are many people who are killed by the police mentally ill, but police aren’t properly trained in how to deal with mental illness. Another article from Bloomberg.com, from December 27 of last year “Bullets are safety net as 64 mentally ill die at hands of police,” states that the number of mentally ill people killed by the police increased three times from 2009-2012.
The police version of this entire story does not match reports of witnesses, and is suspicious in and of itself. The silence around this incident is of great concern.