Activists protest death of Berkeley transgender resident who died in police custody

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Around 70 protesters gathered at People’s Park Tuesday evening to protest the death of Kayla Moore, who died in Berkeley Police Department custody.

Wielding banners and chanting slogans, protesters marched from People’s Park to the police station Downtown, face-to-face with police in riot gear. Though the protest was nonviolent, the crowd remained confrontational, calling for “vengeance for Kayla Moore,” among other loud chants.

Moore, a transgendered individual who identified as Kayla, was originally identified as Xavier Christopher Moore by Berkeley Police Department. Berkeley police had been called to detain Moore after responding to a disturbance call.

According to a statement from Berkeley Police Department, Moore “began to scream and violently resist,” later dying while under restraint.

Maxine Holt, who handed out fliers during the protest, said that she was participating partially because of local media coverage of Moore’s death, which she called “disrespectful.”

“I hope the cops release info about her death, that the coroner releases info and that the matter gets investigated,” Holt said.

Officer Jennifer Coats, spokesperson for Berkeley Police Department, stated on March 11 that an investigation is ongoing. The Alameda County Coroner’s Office has not yet released an official cause of death for Moore.

Berkeley resident Nate Pitts, who, like many attendees, arrived on his bicycle, said he was mostly at the protest out of curiosity.

“I wanted to find out more about these Anonymous Queers in Action … and show solidarity with the march,” Pitts said, referring to a Facebook post by a group called Anonymous Queers in Action calling for Tuesday’s protest.

Coats added that no arrests were made in connection with Tuesday’s protest.

Moore’s death is scheduled for discussion at a meeting of the city’s Police Review Commission Wednesday evening.

Gautham Thomas covers city government. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @gautham_t.