Four years have passed since Berkeley resident Kayla Moore was killed in her apartment by the Berkeley police. Now Kayla's family's lawsuit against the Berkeley Police and the officers that killed Kayla will be heard, specifically as it relates to their violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please join Berkeley Copwatch and the Justice 4 Kayla Moore coalition as we demand “Justice for Kayla Moore!” We know that the (in)justice system rarely works in favor of the community over the police, but we are committed to supporting the Moore family and lifting up Kayla's name. We would like to see justice done outside of the courtroom, as well; we are specifically focused on separating the delivery of mental health crisis services from the police, and are open to other strategies that would stop the tragic and preventable abuse and killings by the police.
On February 12, 2013, police were called to Kayla’s Shattuck Avenue apartment by a friend who was concerned about her mental health. Police arrived and immediately attempted to place her under arrest. Kayla was an African American, transgender woman living with schizophrenia. When officers wrestled her face down onto a futon on the floor, they should have known that this could impair her breathing. Up to six cops, using their full weight continued to restrain the panicked woman and even called for a “spit hood” to be placed on her head. Ultimately, they didn’t get a chance use it. They thought she had calmed down; in fact, she had stopped breathing.
Who was Kayla Moore
In the words of Nomy Lamm,
Kayla is a black trans woman who grew up in Berkeley. Just a few years older than me, I imagine we would have hung out in high school. She was a punk rocker. She was fancy. She had fierce fashion. She was smart and quick to respond when people tried to put her down. She loved to go out dancing. She wrote gothic poetry. She worked from home as a phone sex operator. She was schizophrenic. She was an auntie who loved her baby niece. She was a big fat curvy babe.
Maria Moore, Kayla's sister:
She knew me inside and out. She was very protective. She wouldn’t let anyone bully me. I was her sister; we could always talk about anything. She was so creative. The way she dressed was artistry itself. We’re kind of opposites that way. I’m more conservative. She always wanted to stand out… And Kayla used her words; that girl could talk. She was highly intelligent. It wasn’t just ranting; she was very articulate. She was always having to stand up for herself, because people can be cruel. We just loved her the way she was.
As a teenager, my pet peeve was she would always go in my room and steal my clothes. It was hard for her to get clothes. She wanted to dress feminine, so she’d take mine. And she looked good, I can’t deny that. She knew how to work it,” Maria laughed. “One of my favorite memories… I was three and Kayla was five years old, and my grandma had gotten me a nightgown for Christmas. It was yellow and had lace at the bottom. It was so cute. So I go in the living room, and Kayla is wearing my nightgown, turning around in circles with her arms out – this little brown kid with an afro, wearing this pretty yellow night gown.
She had a strong spiritual side. She was always giving blessings; that was her way of giving her love. The ironic thing is that, whenever Kayla was having a hard time, she’d say ‘I’m just gonna put blessings out there and see what comes back.’ And it would come back! I’d be like, ‘How did you do that?’ She’d be down on her luck, and suddenly someone’s offering her an apartment. Or she’d be out of money, and a check would come in the mail.
Join us in demanding justice!
If you are concerned about racism, trans issues and the treatment of people with mental health disabilities by the BPD, we invite you to work with us to bring this case to the attention of the public.
Please check out:
Justice 4 Kayla Moore website: http://justiceforkaylamoore.wordpress.com