Recently the Butte County District Attorney found that Butte County deputy sheriffs acted in reasonable self-defense when they shot to death a Palermo woman in April 2018. Concerned Citizens for Justice (CCJ) disagrees with that decision.
We believe that the community should find the following facts alarming:
1. Both deputies were wearing body cameras that they did not turn on until after the shooting.
2. The victim was shot five times in the back.
3. She was not armed.
4. She was known to be mentally ill.
5. The DA said that people exercising self-defense are not required to retreat, even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.
We think that this is an uncivil conclusion to reach in a civilized community. Retreat is preferable to shooting an unarmed, mentally ill human being.
We want guardians — not warriors — to police our communities.
We want de-escalation techniques to become normal practice for every officer.
We grieve for the officers who must live with this tragedy knowing that they could have avoided killing a person had they been adequately trained in and practiced both de-escalation and behavioral-health intervention.
We ask, “Do you find this shooting reasonable?”
Margaret Swick with Chico Citizens for Justice