The Berkeley Police Department is Not Making Any Recommendation For Prosecution in the Murder of Stephen “Zumbi” Gaines at Alta Bates Hospital

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By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information

On January 5, 2022 the City of Berkeley’s Police Accountability Board had a special meeting on investigating police misconduct in the death of international rapper Zumbi of Zion I aka Stephen Gaines. 

Although Zumbi was killed on August 13, 2021, the City of Berkeley seems to just be realizing that no matter how long they stall, we the public, still have our eyes fixed on the outcome of all of the investigations surrounding the murder of Zumbi aka Stephen Gaines. 

We are beyond 5 months into the Berkeley Police Department’s investigation, and hospital footage and police body cam footage still has not been released. The Berkeley Police refuse to turn over evidence gained from interviews of people on the scene of the murder. The legal team representing the family of Zumbi, still has not received the official autopsy report. And to add insult to injury, the Berkeley Police are not making any recommendations for prosecution, virtually allowing the security staff responsible for the murder to walk, effectively disregarding the misuse of force which resulted in Stephan “Zumbi” Gaines being murdered. 

Below is an excerpt of the speech given by Attorny Elizabeth Grossman, the lead attorney representing the family of Stephen “Zumbi” Gaines, to the City of Berkeley’s Police Accountability Board at the special meeting held via Zoom, on January 5th, on the murder case of Stephen “Zumbi” Gaines. If an internationally known rapper can be murdered at a local hospital without any uproar, your children and my children can also be murdered in the hospital, in the same way.

“We know that there are videos that the hospital took that we have not been allowed to see. There is body cam (footage) as the police stepped out of the elevator on the 4th floor of Alta Bates. We have not been allowed that. (We) did meet with two homicide investigators from the Berkeley Police Department very early on. And they were very reluctant, and said that they could not share with us the information on what interviews that they were doing. 

We think that this is a situation where law enforcement is not explicitly the one who used force, but their interpretation of what occurred, they are giving others a potential pass on horrible misconduct. We absolutely, from what we know, think that this is a case of positional asphyxiation, not unlike other very significant cases that we all have been aware of in the last year. And if our local law enforcement, similar to other police departments throughout the country, are disregarding positional asphyxiation and the abuse of force by others, and not calling such action a homicide, I think that that is something that we would be very concerned about; that the police department is not making a recommendation for prosecution. The coroner’s report has never been released to us. We are 5 months into this, he died on August 13th, and we don’t have an autopsy report to review. 

Many of you might be aware of the the article in the New York Times, about a month and a half ago, that was talking about what occurs across the country, in terms of law enforcement mis-characterizing positional asphyxiation based on the race of the person who is killed, as just an unknown cause of death. But the police department is very much involved in the coroner’s investigation. They attended. They consult with them. And how this thing will be characterized is of grave concern. If the police department is not characterizing conduct as a violation of use of force then we have a problem.”

As the information on the murder of Zumbi of Zion I aka Stephen Gaines comes to light, we will be covering it here at So stay tuned. 


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