Gaia Building by Tracey Taylor
The Gaia Building at 2116 Allston Way where Xavier (Kayla) Moore lived and to which Berkeley Police were dispatched on the night of Feb. 12. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Late on Tuesday night, Feb. 12, Berkeley police responded to a dispatch call about a disturbance on Allston Way. Less than two hours later, Xavier (Kayla) Moore was pronounced dead at Alta Bates Hospital.

On Friday May 3, the Berkeley Police Department released its 348-page investigation of what happened that night, the same day that the Alameda County coroner’s report on the death was released. From the two documents, and the many sworn statements within them, it’s possible to reconstruct part of what happened that night.

Moore identified as female, using the name Kayla, but all of the police documents, the coroner’s report and the witness statements refer to Moore as a male.

Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, around 5 or 6 p.m.

John Andre Hayes came home to apartment 514 in the Gaia Building on Allston Way early in the evening. According to Hayes, he and Moore are roommates and have known each other for 15 or more years.

In a statement to BPD Hayes said, “Xavier was high on speed and drunk. When he’s high and drunk he becomes mean and wants to fight. He asked me for money to get more speed and alcohol and I told him to go ask someone else and to leave me alone.”

Hayes apparently left the apartment at some point not detailed in the statements.

Around 10:30 or 11 p.m.

Hayes returns to the apartment with Edward Sterling, who describes himself as Moore’s caretaker.

“I was trying to make Xavier some food. Xavier’s demeanor appeared agitated and upset,” Sterling said in his sworn statement. “He was pacing around and in the middle of smoking weed and drinking alcohol. Xavier wasn’t acting like himself and I asked John if Xavier had been taking his prescription medications and John said he hadn’t for a while. When I was talking to Xavier he wasn’t making sense.

“Angel, Xavier’s girlfriend, and Xavier were arguing about meth. Xavier told Angel, ‘If you don’t have any more drugs, you can get out.’ They continued arguing and Xavier picked up a chair and threw at Angel, but it didn’t hit her. Xavier was upset because he thought that Angel had drugs and was holding out on him. Angel left and then it was just me, John and Xavier.”

According to Sterling, Moore asked Hayes to leave five minutes later, which he did.

“Xavier was acting ‘ziggity boom like a mother fucker,’” Hayes said in his statement. “That means he was acting like he does when he is really high.”

“Xavier kept pacing around and acting strange,” Sterling continued. “When he was talking to me he was out of breath and having difficulty breathing.”

11:49 p.m.

When Hayes left the apartment, he called 911 and spoke to BPD’s communications center.

Hayes said in the call that his roommate was “acting a fool” and needed to be “brought into the psych ward.” He said that Moore should be taking medication, “but hasn’t for a long time.” He told the dispatcher that he was on the lease of the apartment and had been put out for “no reason.” He said there were no weapons in the house, but that Moore had been known to pick up kitchen knives and threaten to use them. He said that Moore was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder.

11:54 p.m.

Radio dispatch is made on police channel for a 5150, a potential involuntary psychiatric hold.

11:57 p.m.

Officer Gwendolyn Brown arrives at the Gaia Building.

11:58 p.m.

Officers Brandon Smith and Kenneth Tu arrive. Smith asks Brown if the suspect’s name was Xavier Moore. When Brown confirms the name, Smith says he is wanted on a $10,000 warrant from San Francisco.

Hayes lets the three officers into the building and lets them into the apartment. Brown instructs Hayes to step away. She called out to Moore from the doorstep.

Sterling, who was still in the apartment, said he heard the police talking to Moore.

“At one point, Xavier was telling the officers jibberish about the government and not feeling safe,” Sterling said in his statement. “I couldn’t understand what Xavier was talking about because he wasn’t making any sense.”

Officer Brown’s account: “Moore came to the door and I questioned him as to what was going on with him and roommate Hayes. Moore was unable to answer my questions. He appeared to have difficulty focusing. Moore became increasingly angry and kept rambling something like the FBI was following him and that we were not real police officers.”

While Brown was talking to Moore, Officer Smith did a computer check on Hayes and found an outstanding $5,000 warrant. Hayes cooperated with Smith and went downstairs. Smith handcuffed him and put him in the back seat of the patrol car. (Hayes was subsequently taken to jail at 12:58 a.m.)

Upstairs, Brown “made the decision to physically restrain Moore for a 5150 evaluation and the $10,000 warrant.” She tells Moore that he would be going to the police department.

“Moore became very angry and said he was not going,” according to Brown’s statement. “He then said he was going inside to call the FBI to clear up the matter. I told him he could make the call from the station. He continued saying he would call the FBI from his apartment. I told Moore that he needed to come with us. He flat out refused. He was unresponsive to my verbal commands.

“Moore’s behavior became increasingly aggressive,” Brown continued. “I signaled to Officer Tu to go hands on and assist me in placing Moore in handcuffs. Officer Tu grabbed Moore’s left wrist. I simultaneously grabbed Moore’s right wrist, in an attempt to apply a control hold and put the handcuffs on. Moore immediately started yelling, ‘No, No!’ He attempted to pull away. Officer Tu and I maintained our grasps. Moore continue to violently pull away. While doing so, he pulled Officer Tu and me into his apartment. We all fell on a mattress that was on the floor, against the east wall.

12:29 a.m.

Brown calls for additional officers under a Code 3.

“At the same time,” she continued, “I noticed a BMA [black male adult], later identified as witness Sterling, in the apartment. For officer safety reasons, I ordered him out of the apartment. Officer Tu and I continued struggling to restrain Moore who was violently resisting. I ordered him to stop. There was no compliance.”

Sterling’s witness statement: “The scuffle started outside the doorway and then continued inside the apartment. Xavier wasn’t being cooperative with the police at all. The officers kept telling Xavier to ‘stop resisting’ but he wouldn’t. He kept resisting and speaking jibberish. Officer Brown told me to wait outside, so I left the apartment quickly and waited outside. I was worried that Xavier was going to freak out and attack me too as I was trying to get out.”

Officers Mathis, Gardner and Kastmiller arrive at the apartment. Brown and Tu had managed to get one hand cuffed, and with assistance from the other officers, are able to cuff the other wrist. Because of Moore’s size, nearly 350 pounds, two sets of cuffs were used.

After being handcuffed, according to Tu, Moore “continued to scream and kick,” so the other officers used the ankle strap of a WRAP device to secure his ankles. “Moore continued resisting for a short period of time before appearing to calm down,” Tu wrote in his statement. Once he calmed, we rolled him onto his side, and Officer Brown confirmed that he was breathing and had a pulse.”

12:39 a.m.

About a minute later, Brown said that Moore was no longer breathing and no longer had a pulse. Berkeley Fire Department is called with a Code 3. “We immediately removed the handcuffs, laid him on his back and began CPR,” Brown wrote.

12:43 a.m.

BFD’s Medic 1 arrives at the apartment and takes over efforts to revive Moore.

1:04 a.m.

BFD Engine 5/Medic 1 transports Moore to Alta Bates Hospital. They arrive at 1:10 a.m.

1:34 a.m.

Dr. Benjamin Bonnes pronounces Moore’s death.

According to the coroner, Moore died of “acute combined drug intoxication”. Morbid obesity and cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) were considered significant conditions. There was no evidence of trauma. The only evidence of injury were areas of abrasion and contusion on the wrists.

Coroner, police deliver reports on Xavier Moore death [05.03.13]
Emotional please prompt call for Kayla Moore report [04.01.13]
Police union: Should Berkeley have Tasers? [04.02.3013]
Anti-police demonstrators march in downtown Berkeley [03.13.13]
Berkeley Police release statement on in-custody death [02.28.13]
Name released after death in custody, cause unknown [02.22.13]
Man dies after struggle with Berkeley Police [02.13.13]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...