Berkeley Copwatch investigating transgendered woman's death

KPFA Evening News, 02.17.2013

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest: Turning now to Bay Area news, the Berkeley Police Department has acknowledged that a Berkeley resident died last Tuesday after a call for a mental health evaluation led to a violent struggle with police. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: On Wednesday,February 13th, a report on Berkeleyside, a Berkeley community blog, said that a 41-year-old, unidentified male had died after struggling with Berkeley Police officers the night before. According to the report, police had been dispatched to the 2000 block of Allston Way for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday. The Berkeley Police still have not released the deceased's identity, but Berkeley Copwatch has undertaken an  investigation and concluded that the deceased was in fact a transgendered woman of color who resided in the Gaia Building, at 2116 Allston Way.

Andrea Prichett of Berkeley Copwatch told KPFA that the organization is seeking firsthand witnesses and/or individuals who knew the deceased, and asking them to call Copwatch at (510) 548-0425. Prichett also encouraged citizens of Berkeley to call the Police Department to demand a thorough investigation and full disclosure. Copwatch will hold a meeting tomorrow night at 7 pm at their office at 2022 Blake Street in Berkeley for those willing to help with their ongoing citizen investigation of why the so-called mental health evaluation became fatal.

Earlier this month, the Northern California Society for Professional Journalists announced that it will award Berkeley Copwatch with a James Madison Freedom of Information Award for its “effective use of public records to block a Homeland Security grant for putting an armored military vehicle on the streets of Albany and Berkeley.”

More information is available on the Berkeley Copwatch website,

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.


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