Sad Tidings

Recently I’ve managed to find some stories with better news among the usual fare of crap that many transpeople face.  

I knew it couldn’t keep going like that.

So tonight we have hard news out of California and Maryland.

The toll?  One dead, two injured, and a state’s transgender population worth of others left endangered.

On the bright side today is payday…and unlike many other transpeople, I actually have one.

Kayla Moore was a transwoman with a history of mental problems.  On February 12 Berkeley (CA) Police were dispatched to handle the report of a disturbance.  Moore became “agitated and uncooperative” according to police and began to scream and resist.

Moore has been described as being paranoid schizophrenic.

Given the report of the police, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the result of the police insisting on identifying her as a man and responding to her based on that assumption.

The police placed Moore in restraints and called for the assistance of the Fire Department in transporting the victim, requesting a gurney. While being restrained officers noticed that Moore had stopped breathing.  The Fire Department unit arrived and transported her to a local hospital.

The statement by BPD I just summarized, of course, refers to Moore only as a male, with male pronouns.  Even a day after her death, nobody located any respect for her.

According to the report, the District Attorney’s Office has been notified and the Detective Division is investigating.

Seventy protesters gathered in People’s Park on Tuesday to protest that death.  The crowd (called together by the Facebook group Anonymous Queers in Action) promised “vengeance for Kayla Moore.”  Official cause of death has not yet been released by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office.

This East Bay Express article adds some information.  It seems police arrived at 11pm and this original visit was quiet and ended peacefully.  The police left with Moore still alive.  But the police returned an hour later…in a larger force.  Neighbors heard Moore screaming in her apartment for several minutes, followed by an abrupt silence.  This is apparently when Moore died.  According to other sources police were originally going to take Moore to Alta Bates hospital for psychiatric evaluation…but then discovered that she had an outstanding warrant for an assault in San Francisco.

These officers, whose names have not been released, made a fateful decision: to arrest someone who was known by the department to be paranoid schizophrenic, while she was apparently experiencing a psychiatric emergency.  When Moore was told she was going to be arrested, she became combative, police told the Tribune.

Andrea Pritchett of Berkeley Copwatch adds the following:

They circle the wagons, won’t let anyone have any information, stall, delay, and hope that public interest dissipates, and that’s what we’re determined will not happen in this case.  It’s a sad commentary on the deterioration of police accountability in Berkeley, I think, because Berkeley hasn’t been known for these types of incidents, yet they’re happening with greater frequency here.

There’s this larger question of how police just kind of get to assassinate, ‘put down’, terminate mentally ill people. The interaction between the police department and the mental health department in incidents involving people with psychiatric emergencies is really important.

Meanwhile in Maryland the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has expressed deep concern over recent reports of an attck against a transgender individual and a friend in Silver Spring.

The attack took place at 2:35 pm on March 5.  The two victims were walking down the street when four people started to follow them, making comments about the presumed sexuality of the victims before physically assaulting them.

We are appalled to learn of this alleged attack.  No one should be targeted by hate due to his or her gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic.

Hate crimes deserve priority attention because the impact resonates throughout the entire community and threatens the safety and well-being of every member of that group.  Perpetrators of hate crimes send a message to their victims, and everyone else who shares the victim’s characteristics, that they are not welcome or safe.  The Anti-Defamation League wants those in the transgender community to know that we stand with them in the fight against these crimes.

–Sophie Dornstreich, ADL Associate Regional Director

The Montgomery County Police Department are investigating the incident as a hate crime.  Three individuals have so far been detained and accused of beating and kicking the transman and his friend and hate crime charges are pending.

The suspects left the scene of the assault when a bystander intervened.  Preliminary charges include three counts of assault and two counts of discriminatory harassment.  The suspects include a 21-year-old male from Baltimore and a 22-year-old and a 28-year-old from Washington.

There is even more sad news out of Maryland, where the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee failed to pass the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 because, apparently, they do not believe in fairness for all Marylanders.

I mean, fairness for transpeople?  That’s a bridge too far.

I guess.

The committee vote was 5-6.

It is terribly disappointing the committee failed to stand up for fairness and protect transgender Marylanders.

In the past month more than 300 people visited their legislators in support of this bill.  Additionally, more than 400 constituents called their senators on this committee and almost 2,000 constituent letters, petitions and postcards in support of SB 449 were given to the 11 members of the committee.

We are particularly incensed with Senator Jim Brochin’s (D-Baltimore County) vote.  He had at least 1,000 constituents contact him asking him to support this bill.  Despite this, he turned his back on these voters.  It ironic that transgender people in his own district (Baltimore County) have protections, yet he wouldn’t cast a vote to extend these protections to individuals in the 20 counties that aren’t so fortunate.

–Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland

Equality Maryland promised to “come back every year until transgender Marylanders are afforded the right to be free from discrimination in their jobs, homes, and places of public accommodation.”

1 comment

  1. Robyn

    …from the home of my partner’s best friend since grade school.

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