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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Death In Custody: Berkeley PD Not Forthcoming with Information
Berkeley police chief Michael Meehan was not present at the police review commission to discuss the death of Xavier Moore, who died in police custody the night of Feb 12th. Lt Greenwood was instead at the meeting to represent the police. No new information was given to the review commission, leaving basic questions regarding the incident unanswered.
Basics facts of the case regarding Xavier Moore remain unclear. The police did not clarify if Xavier Moore was being detained for a medical/psychiatric evaluation, if Moore was being detained for refusing to follow police orders, or for an outstanding warrant. It is unknown if someone from the department who has crisis intervention training responded to the scene.
The initial information released by Berkeley police stated that Moore became violent, but no elaboration has been given. It is unknown what level of force the police used to counter the alleged violence by Moore.
It is unknown if Moore was detained through a "face-down take-down", which places the detainee on their chest and can inhibit breathing.
It is unknown if the officers involved with the detention of Moore are currently on duty, or if they were placed on leave pending investigation. It is unknown how many officers responded to this situation.
The Berkeley police is investigation itself. Other than an Alameda County coroner's examination, it is not clear that any outside agency is investigation the death in custody.
The Berkeley police did not clarify what legal standards it is using as per withholding information about the case from the police review commission and general public. There is no request for the names of the police officers involved in the case; there is only request for general information on what happened, and how the investigation into the death is being handled.
The issue of gender identity has yet to be resolved in the case of Xavier Moore. While the police referred to Moore as a large man, and Moore's stepmother referred to Moore as her son in the press, it is believed that Xavier Moore was living as a transgender female (keeping the name Xavier). The issue of gender identity may have come up during the police's presence at Moore's residence. The police may have referred to Xavier with pronouns which Moore did not identify with, adding to tension between Moore and the police.
Two weeks after the death of Xavier Moore, the community knows nothing more than the initial vague report that the death took place in police custody. It was noted at the meeting that there are concerns in the community that the Berkeley police withholds information to the public to keep down controversy and to avoid heated criticism.
Kayla Moore is the name the individual went by. Xavier was Kayla's birth name, and Kayla her chosen name.