Parents plead for police restraint "Bullets are not the answer," says Tyler Rushing's father

photo by Dave Waddell

The father of Tyler Rushing, Scott Rushing (center), talks with concerned Chico citizens.

by Dave Waddell

Scott Rushing stood Sunday across Main Street from the title company building in which his son, Tyler, was shot to death July 23 by Chico police.

“I guess you could call it his mausoleum,” said Rushing, before conducting a moment of silence in memory of his only son and other victims of law enforcement killings in Butte County. Rushing said he found it “particularly abhorrent” that his son’s body was Tased and handcuffed after the fatal shooting.

A bit earlier, Rushing, along with his wife Paula, had spoken to a group of about two dozen gathered at the corner of Fourth and Main streets – City Hall serving as a backdrop – and he made a tearful plea for police restraint in dealing with people in mental crisis. (See video at right.) read more

Fewer officers enroll in Butte crisis training Chico PD, though, ups CIT involvement after shootings

photo by Karen Laslo

Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien

by Dave Waddell

In a year of three deadly officer-involved shootings within five months in Butte County, overall attendance is down markedly among law enforcement personnel in Butte College’s annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) academy.

However, the Chico Police Department, involved in two of those fatal shootings, is sending three officers to the CIT academy, after having almost no presence there in recent years.

The academy, which begins Monday at the Chico Fire Training Center, provides instruction in de-escalation techniques and in dealing with the mentally ill. For its first seven years, the 40-hour training was conducted by Andy Duch, a recently retired Butte County sheriff’s captain. Duch quit the CIT post in protest shortly after Chico police shot and killed Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, in his West Fourth Avenue living room on March 17. read more

Shooting of Phillips violated “public trust” Prof says killing not comparable to other recent deaths

Desmond Phillips

Editor’s Note: ChicoSol asked Diane E. Schmidt, the ranking professor of public administration in the department of political science and criminal justice at Chico State, to comment on the two deadly law enforcement shootings in Butte County that have taken place since the March 17 Chico police shooting of Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man. We have elected to run her response as a guest commentary.

by Diane E. Schmidt

I don’t see these situations as being comparable to Desmond Phillips’ killing. Desmond’s killing violated the sanctity of the home — the trust of the family calling for medical help — and instead they had to endure police officers pepper-spraying the dog, breaking in the door, and shooting the very person who most needed medical intervention. Desmond’s killing was a violation of the public trust, not just a tragic overreach of police power. read more

Writer-consultant Roland Bunch discusses ways to stem famine

by Leslie Layton

Regenerative agriculture expert Roland Bunch was at Chico State today discussing the ways farming techniques can help end an African famine threatening 20 million people. Bunch has spent the last six years using these techniques to end famine in Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and other nations, and has consulted on regenerative agriculture in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

During years of working in other parts of the world, Bunch says he’s come to realize that sound priniciples that have been developed for tropical climates can be applied to agriculture everywhere. (Regenerative agriculture involves using techniques that mimic nature to nourish the soil in place of dependence on chemical fertilizers.) read more

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City Council: Arm the park rangers Bidwell Park rangers will carry guns and receive police training

photo by Leslie Layton

Councilor Randall Stone voted in opposition.

by Dave Waddell

Bidwell Park’s three rangers will begin carrying guns and taking their orders from the Chico Police Department as a result of a plan approved Tuesday night by the City Council.

The conservative majority of the council held sway in the 4-2 vote, with council members Ann Schwab and Randall Stone in the minority and Karl Ory absent.

“You can’t convince me this is anything but a revenue grab for the Police Department from the Public Works Department,” Stone said. “The park is the perpetual whipping boy … to placate a Police Department that needs to grow.” read more

Art show remembrance “so Desmond” Efforts continue to get state investigation of Phillips shooting

Olive Bone, though just 14 months old, already knows what she likes when it comes to art, pointing Sunday to a piece displayed at the “Portraits of Desmond” art show in remembrance of Desmond Phillips. Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, was shot dead by Chico police in his living room March 17. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled the killing justified, but a group called Justice for Desmond Phillips has asked the state attorney general’s office for an independent criminal investigation. The Phillips family also is represented by the office of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris of Oakland. David Phillips, Desmond’s father, called the art pieces at the weekend exhibit at Estes Ranch “so Desmond" -- photo and story by Dave Waddell.