OAKLAND -- A coroner's report concludes that toxic levels of methamphetamine and codeine, heart disease and morbid obesity killed a severely mentally ill man who died following a struggle with police in his apartment in February.
Critics of Berkeley police have said that police used excessive force while taking Xavier Moore, 41, into custody, leading to his death, but the report from the Alameda County coroner's office said other factors were to blame.
"The death resulted from acute combined drug intoxication with a contribution from morbid obesity and intrinsic cardiovascular disease," Dr. Thomas Beaver, chief forensic pathologist, wrote in the report.
Moore, who weighed 347 pounds, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was a heavy smoker who used crack cocaine and methamphetamine, said his stepmother, Elysse Paige-Moore. She said Xavier was known to many people in Berkeley as Kayla and identified as a woman.
Shortly before midnight Feb. 12, police received a 911 call about a disturbance on the fifth floor of the Gaia building on Allston Way.
Police said people with Moore at an apartment were going to take the agitated 41-year-old to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for a psychiatric evaluation. They changed course when they learned of an outstanding warrant for assault from San Francisco and the threat of jail time for Moore.
When officers arrived, they said, Moore became combative with them as he was face down on a mattress on the floor. Officers eventually used two sets of handcuffs and an ankle strap to restrain Moore's hands and feet, and Moore stopped resisting and was moved onto his side.
At that time he was breathing and had a pulse, but about one minute later, Moore became unresponsive, stopped breathing and officers could not find a pulse, according to the report.
Officers immediately removed the handcuffs and moved him onto his back and began CPR, the report says.
Paige-Moore declined to comment Friday because she said she had not seen the report. She had said previously that she was concerned about whether Moore "was handled with the level of care he deserved."
A criminal investigation by the Berkeley police concluded that "the physical force used to overcome Moore's resistance and to effect the arrest of Moore was reasonable."
"The (Berkeley police) investigation said there was no criminal act on the part of the officers," Capt. Andrew Greenwood said.
Still, for some, the case may not be closed.
Members of Berkeley Copwatch held a celebration of life on April 17, which would have been Moore's 42nd birthday, and have requested the police reports about the incident. On their website, they say that the city's leadership "has allowed police to function without accountability and mental health services to be provided by aggressive cops."
Copwatch monitors could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
Paige-Moore said she has been in talks with a civil rights attorney but has not yet filed a lawsuit against the city.