Written By: Danielle Toriumi
Three years after Kayla Moore, a transgender woman with schizophrenia, died in her home while in the custody of Berkeley police, a court date has finally been set.
In a demand for justice for the wrongful death, despite the City of Berkeley’s recent attempts to have the case dismissed, the trial date will remain set for Oct. 17, 2016.
On Sept. 20, 2016 family members and supporters of Moore flooded the streets of Berkeley to bring awareness to the upcoming trial.
Maria Moore, Moore’s sister, stood on the top steps of the old city hall in Berkeley, California and recalled her sister’s death.
“This was a case of torture that was extreme and unnecessary,” Maria Moore said.
Moore was a transgender woman of color who suffered from schizophrenia and an anxiety disorder. At around 11 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2013, police arrived at Moore’s apartment in response to a mental health related disturbance and a warrant for the arrest of Xavier Moore, Moore’s legal name.
During the response, Moore had a psychotic episode. The police said that she was being non-compliant during her arrest and took actions that allegedly took Moore’s life.
On Sept. 23, 2016, at the pre-trial, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer believed that the reason for Moore’s arrest was appropriate.
“This is a case of excessive force in the court’s opinion,” Breyer said.
A large portion of the discussions during the pre-trial between representatives of the City of Berkeley and the Moore family focused on each defendant’s statement for the cause of death. The City continued to state the cause of death was a poorly timed cardiac arrest, while Moore’s representative claimed it as neglect, and excessive use of force and restraint.
Moore’s psychotic episode was briefly addressed by the family in the pre-trial as a justified reason for her apparent non-compliance during her arrest.
Judge Breyer said Moore’s psychotic episode would not be a strong enough argument for the family‘s case.
Adante Pointe, the representing attorney for the Moore family, spoke to the injustice in regards to misgendering Moore. Pointe said that the misgendering occurred in multiple news outlets and for a greater part of the pre-trial, until the matter was formally addressed and corrected.
Elizabeth Martin (who uses they/them pronouns), a leader of Gender Splendor at Mills College, believes there must be an end to the growing violence against trans women of color. They also feel a positive increase in visibility should not have to consequently result in an increase of violence.
“Misgendering Kayla Moore was another act of violence that has been irresponsibly propagated throughout reports of her death,” Martin said.
With each new day the fight will continue on, for not only the Moore Family but for the countless victims of these trans-focused attacks.
“The family and supporting community still has a ways to go and has much more left to prove,” Maria Moore said.
The start of the trial will be held Oct. 17, 2016 at 10 a.m. at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco.