Joint Statement of Solidarity with the Family of Kayla Moore

From Fat Rose and Sins Invalid

Content Warning: Includes violence, transmisogyny, ableism, racism, and fat hatred

Fat Rose and Sins Invalid support the family of Kayla Moore, and all those suffering from the violence of racism, transmisogyny, ableism, and fat hatred. Kayla Moore should be alive and fighting alongside us today. Her family asks: How can a “wellness check” result in the death of a disabled woman in her own apartment? Please support her family by showing up in court on January 9. https://www.facebook.com/events/1016403135378428/

On Feb 13, 2013, Kayla Moore, a fat Black trans woman with a mental health disability, was in a mental health flare-up, and her friend and attendant called 911 for support. When the police arrived, they escalated the situation. They took her friend in on an old warrant, and they tried to take Kayla into custody on a warrant for someone else who had the same birth name as her, but was twenty years older. Kayla knew it wasn’t for her, and resisted when they tried to handcuff her. Five officers ended up restraining her, piling on top of her face-down on a futon, tying her legs together and handcuffing her behind her back. Kayla stopped responding and officers simply left her laying there, exposed with her skirt up, and referred to her as “it” as officers and first responders milled around in her apartment. Nobody attempted to restore her breathing. She died soon after. They later blamed her death on “obesity.” 

When fat people die while in police custody, it’s common for the police to blame our deaths on “obesity.” This is also what happened when police tried to exonerate themselves in the death of Eric Garner. Kayla Moore and Eric Garner were existing just fine in their fat bodies before police contact. It was police actions and the disregard of the specifics of these individuals’ bodies that killed them, not their bodies themselves. A recent article by fat opera singer Tracy Cox exposes some of the particular dangers faced by fat people when being arrested. https://thetracycox.com/showpony/fat-people-face-extreme-and-unnecessary-danger-in-police-custody 

Furthermore, the device that was used on Kayla, called the “WRAP,” is known to be dangerous and was already known to have caused deaths prior to its use on Kayla. It requires specific training and close monitoring to make sure the person is still breathing. You can learn more about this and about Kayla’s case in general in the People’s Investigation into her death.

The Moore family’s 9th circuit appeal in their case against the City of Berkeley and the cops who killed Kayla has been scheduled for oral arguments to be heard on January 9, 2020.

After Judge Breyer’s decision in March 2018 to throw out the entire case without letting the evidence go before a jury, the family decided to appeal. It is their belief, and ours, that the overwhelming amount of conflicting evidence in the case—including the cops changing their stories, as well as experts disagreeing about the cause of death—necessitates that the case go before a jury. Legally, the judge cannot simply decide that he likes one argument more than another one; that is for the jury to decide.

We believe that the Moore family’s case should go before a jury, as is required by law when there is conflicting evidence in a case. We are building momentum toward the hearing date. We want to fill the courtroom and show support for Kayla Moore and her family. We demand a jury trial so the appalling facts of the case can be heard.

The court can fit a few hundred observers, and is usually empty. Let’s pack the court!

Where: US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 95 – 7th Street in SF *Meeting location TBA*

When: Thursday, January 9. Plan on showing up in the morning, like at 9a. *Exact times TBA*

What to bring: ID

What not to bring: Don’t bring anything you aren’t supposed to bring on an airplane (substances, sharp objects, etc.)

Other ways to help

  • Text Justice4Kayla to 33222 for updates
  • Tell your friends and networks to show up on 1/9
  • Share or endorse our demands: https://justiceforkaylamoore.wordpress.com/demands/
  • Ask your organization to make a statement of solidarity and share it with their networks
  • Can someone from your organization speak at our pre-court gathering?
  • Do you know any musicians or entertainers who would perform at our pre-court gathering?
  • Organize with the Justice 4 Kayla Moore coalition! Email us at justice4kaylamoore@gmail.com 

[Image Description: A drawing of a beautiful fat smiling brown woman with a pompadour, holding up her fingers in a peace sign. A banner over her head reads “We Remember Kayla Moore.” Text around her head says “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.’ shame on BPD!” On her shirt it says “Justice for Kayla.” drawing by nomy lamm]