Entries Tagged 'Police Violence and Killings' ↓
May 14th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Excessive Force, Police State, Police Violence and Killings, Racism, Rights
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)
Check us out on Facebook: Justice4kaylamoore
April 14th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Events, Excessive Force, In Memoriam, Mental Illness, Police Violence and Killings, Racism, Rights
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
(510) 548-0425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
March 29th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Excessive Force, Mental Illness, Police Violence and Killings, Public Records Act, Rights
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.
After the death of Kayla Moore, the department’s Public Information Officer, Jennifer Coats, wrote this piece, no doubt hoping to allay community concern about Moore’s death. www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2013-03-01/article/40813?headline=Update-Death-During-Police-Contact-February-12-2013–By-Officer-Jennifer-Coats-Public-Information-Officer-Berkeley-Police-Department-
“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.
March 2nd, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Copwatch in the News, Excessive Force, Mental Illness, Police Violence and Killings, Racism
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.
For Press Conference coverage, see KTVU:
February 28th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Excessive Force, Mental Illness, Police Violence and Killings
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.
February 26th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Berkeley Police Review Commission, Excessive Force, Mental Illness, Police Violence and Killings, Racism, Rights
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2013
Andrea Prichett (Berkeley Copwatch)
George Lippman (Coalition For a Safe Berkeley)
BERKELEY COALITION DEMANDS ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY
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 10:00am February 28 2013
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.
February 15th, 2013 — Berkeley, Berkeley PD, Excessive Force, Local Law, Police Violence and Killings, Tasers
Please come to copwatch meeting on Monday at 7pm. 2022 Blake Street * We need allies to come so we can break this into working groups and find out why a mental health call became lethal. Contact homeless services and mental health providers in the city about this.
Update: Man dies after struggle with Berkeley Police
Posted By Emilie Raguso On February 13, 2013 (3:45 pm) In Featured, News
Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Kaia Diringer
Authorities are investigating the death of a man who stopped breathing after a violent struggle with police Tuesday night, officials said.
According to a statement released by the Berkeley Police Department just after 4 p.m. today, authorities were dispatched to the 2000 block of Allston Way for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday.
“Upon arrival, uniformed officers spoke with the reporting party and were directed to the 41 year old male subject’s residence nearby,” according to the statement. ”During the contact, the subject became increasingly agitated and uncooperative to the officer’s verbal commands and began to scream and violently resist. After struggling with officers they were able to gain control of the subject and place him in restraints. The subject continued to kick and scream at officers.”
Police said that, due to the man’s “large stature,” officers asked the Berkeley Fire Department for a gurney to help transport him “for further evaluation.”
“While under restraint officers determined the subject was not breathing and immediately began CPR,” according to the statement. The Berkeley Fire Department took the man to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police notified the district attorney’s office, and the case is being investigated by the Detective Division, according to department policy. Also per department policy, the police officers who responded to the call have been placed on administrative leave, said officer Stephanie Polizziani of the Berkeley Police Department.
Sgt. Patricia Wilson of the coroner’s office said she did not have details on the case. Generally speaking, she said, it would be investigated in the same manner as any death in Alameda County that is considered “unnatural.”
Those types of investigations include consolidating reports from law enforcement agencies, reviewing the medical history, putting together a case file and interviewing witnesses.
“We don’t do anything specific for law enforcement-involved cases,” she said. “We investigate all deaths from the same perspective.”
This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.
URL to article: www.berkeleyside.com/2013/02/13/officials-examine-death-during-berkeley-police-response/
December 16th, 2012 — Police Violence and Killings, Racism
Uhuru News reports on November 18th that five young people from across African American communities in Chicago were killed in one week in early November of 2012. In one instance, fifteen year old Dakota Bright was chased down the street and then executed with a shot to the back of the head by Chicago Police on November 8, 2012 as he walked from his school to his grandmother’s house. Police reported he had a gun. Dakota Bright laid on the ground, dead and surrounded by police officers, while they tried to “locate” the gun. Over two weeks after the incident occured, the family had still not received an autopsy report, police report, or death certificate.
Kovell Curry writes that a statement was released by the family from the funeral on November 16, ‘to Chicago as a warning’. It read:
“Today the family was more than disrespected by Chicago police, while trying to lay Dakota to rest there were helicopters and a mob of police following the funeral procession. The police told one of our cousins to ‘shut the fuck up before you get fucked up next.’ They had rifles in their hands as if we were in a third world country at war. They are trying to scare us but we are not letting up on these killers.”
This matches much of what we are hearing across the Bay Area from families–their children are shot down while walking familiar paths between schools and family homes, they are consistently accused of carrying guns, and after they are shot, often at close range and in the back or on the ground, their bodies are left dead or dying for very long periods in public spaces surrounded by police. From here, the family waits months, even longer, for autopsy reports (that often don’t add up…), police reports, and death certificates.
For Kovell Curry’s full story in Uhuru News, see:
November 23rd, 2012 — Excessive Force, Police Violence and Killings, Racism
“On October 30, the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15 year old who was shot and killed by South San Francisco Police Department officer Joshua Cabillo, filed a federal civil rights action against the City of South San Francisco. Family members, who are seeking $10 million in damages, hired Attorney John Burris to represent them in the wrongful death action. Burris says, “This is a clear case of racial profiling that lead to disastrous results.”
The press conference was held in front of the South San Francisco Arco gas station where Gaines was killed on June 5, and Rachel Guido Red, Gaines’ mother, said she hopes the civil action will lead to a change in police procedures. “These are our kids out there and there’s other ways of dealing with them, other than shooting and killing them,” she said.
The civil suit was additionally filed on behalf of Derrick Gaines’ father, who is also named Derrick Gaines. “Every day I am having a harder time dealing with this….I know how police are, and it’s killing me,” he said at the press conference. “Not a day goes by I don’t miss my baby…that’s my only son.”
For full story, see:
September 16th, 2012 — Copwatch in the News, Police Violence and Killings, Racism
There’s been a lot of organizing in Vallejo following the horrifically violent murder of Mario Romero by the Vallejo Police Department on September 2, 2012. Mario Romero was sitting in his car in front of his home with his brother-in-law when police opened fire on both men. Over 30 rounds were fired into the car, and Mario’s sister, Cynquita, saw the killing unfold. Their brother in law, who was protected by Mario’s body, lived through the barrage. The family of Mario and the community around them has refused to take this quietly.
There have been rallies, marches, community meetings, and press conferences. In the latest of an ongoing series of responses to this violence, the Reverend Floyd D. Harris, Jr., president of the National Network in Action, invited Berkeley Copwatch to Vallejo on Saturday, September 15th, 2012 to present a Know Your Rights Training, to discuss ways to document police activity and organize against police violence, and to meet with Vallejo civilians to discuss the role of police in all of our communities. We met at the Vallejo Police Station, and then moved to the park in the afternoon sunlight.
There was an impressive community presence: long time and senior members of the Vallejo community, including Native American activist and allies, young people and mothers, families who have also lost loved ones to the police, including the family of Guy Jarreau, Jr. (killed by police on December 11, 2012) and vibrant children everywhere. Among these gathered was Mario’s family. It is difficult to put words to how the Romero family showed up there. In numbers alone, they are a presence. But it is something beyond this that affirms the family as something to reckon with, a force. They were massively pulled together and sharp and strong. They bore witness to the violence as a family.
We offer, again, our immense solidarity with this family, and our sadness with their loss.
There are stories in Vallejo about the police that are disturbing, and that echo stories from Oakland to Anaheim, and towns across California. There is the unrelenting killings of black and brown men that rise weekly in this state. There is the immediate and sprawling devastation that is wreaked on families and friends, on the circles and layers of communities affected by each police killing. And other stories emerge–the chilling details that speak to neighborhoods terrorized by police: where cops practice “predatory policing” (in these cases, specific people or families remain targets for years, even generations); where cops repetitively shine lights into the same people’s living rooms night after night; where cop cars roll up on innocent civilians with their lights off, or plain clothes cops crash a scene without uniforms, and violence follows; where violence by cops is investigated internally, by the cops themselves; where ambulances don’t arrive for extended periods after a police shooting, no matter how close the hospitals are; where cops make a traffic stop and the first question they ask the driver is, “Where’d you get this car?”
Everyone there knows the figures: Mario’s killing was the seventh police shooting since May of this year in Vallejo, five of these were deadly. To be clear: Five people have been killed by police in Vallejo since May of this year. Vallejo has a population of roughly 117,000, with a per capita income of $26,000 and an unemployment rate from two years ago at 15.8%. People are being killed in front of their homes in Vallejo, and the community has no access to the names of officers who have used deadly force against their community in the past and who remain on the force. Even in cases where they may have fired, say, 30 rounds into a car. And, as is far too common in cases of police murders, families have difficulty accessing the autopsy reports. And, as in the recent incident, when families and friends and others in solidarity and anger organize rallies that demand answers, the Chief of Police won’t come out to meet them and address their concerns.
We saw a lot of homemade buttons with Mario’s pictures on them, commemorating his life cut short. We saw Guy Jarreau Jr.’s family wearing t-shirts with the date and street names of the intersection of Guy’s murder remembered on the front of the shirt, and a picture of Guy. We waited to start the training because the family was holding a car wash to raise funds for the funeral.
Berkeley Copwatch stands with the family of Mario Romero, Guy Jarreau Jr., and all the other people shot by police in Vallejo. In these struggles for justice and safety, we remain committed to offer whatever solidarity, training, and resources we can to support Vallejo Copwatch and other police accountability initiatives.
In Vallejo, as in Oakland, Berkeley and across California, we need transparency into police behavior that cannot be achieved as long as Copley, the Police Bill of Rights, and the Caloca Boards are in place to protect police behavior from public scrutiny. It is from this reality that the task of patient documenting of police behavior becomes a critical aspect of a larger struggle to redefine community safety, combined with gathering together to share what we have seen, what we know. These gatherings are inspiring, and in these spaces, we find each other to fight back.
Watch this interview with Mario’s sister Cynquita to see some of what is going on in Vallejo:
For local coverage of the recent Berkeley Copwatch training, see
Check this out for a personal account of Guy Jarreau Jr.’s murder by his brother Joshua Henry: