Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SAY HER NAME: Kayla Moore and the Struggle for Justice

Did police response to a call involving mental health distress obey the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? A court will look at Kayla Moore's experience . . . .

We remember Kayla Moore
4-17-71 to 2-13-13
poet, singer, sister, daughter, genius, friend
black trans woman with a mental health diagnosis
killed by Berkeley Police in her own home.
they tried to blame her death on "obesity" !!!
(Original art: Nomy Lamm)

Kayla Moore died at the hands of Berkeley police on February 13, 2013. Read "We Remember Kayla Moore" by Nomy Lamm (who created the poster above) to learn about Kayla Moore's life and how she died.

The Justice 4 Kayla Moore movement has grown steadily in the Bay Area. I was present at Federal Court in San Francisco on Monday when Judge Breyer said he would move forward with the court case brought by the family. He will hear arguments on the part of the complaint related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Judge Breyer dismissed the parts related to excessive force and equal protection. (More to come on the possibility of appeal on those issues.) The month of November will provide important opportunities to support Kayla's family and the Justice 4 Kayla Moore movement.

When I lived in Chicago, I learned about the need for police accountability. I was very focused on Chicago, but I also learned about the situation in other parts of the country, particularly when leaders from around the country gathered in Chicago for the National Forum on Police Crimes. So I have arrived in Berkeley with my eyes open.

A particular case I learned about in Chicago involved Stephon Watts. It was my first introduction to what goes wrong when police use confrontation instead of de-escalation in responding to mental health-related distress calls.

The struggle for police accountability has been a difficult one in Chicago. It's turning out to be a difficult one throughout the country.  I expect it will be a difficult one in Berkeley.

But I'm inspired to see the strength of the growing movement here. And it's about to get stronger . . .

To be continued . . . .

Related posts

In the city where I live, "normal" or "right" or "acceptable" has been given a brutal construction by the power structure:

Police encounter black man on street
Police shoot black man
Black man dies
(Business as usual in Chicago.)

 (See We need to get the police off the streets of Chicago. QED.)

The State's Attorney for the Chicago area finally got around to bringing a charge against a police officer who shot and killed a citizen. Why, I wondered, didn't Anita Alvarez charge him with murder?

Then I remembered my Chicago vocabulary lesson.

(See Chicago Vocabulary Lesson: "Overcharging" and "Undercharging" )

Cook County Jail is the perfect example of the nationwide injustice that Michelle Alexander described in her groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration, focused principally one people of color, in which "crimes" (often related to drug possession or other low-level offenses) become the mechanism for entrapping people in a cycle of incarceration that is brutalizing and often begins a downward spiral of lifetime discrimination.

(See Free Them All )