Ribbon-cutting opens Chico art museum MONCA promises to make art accessible

photo by Dave Waddell

by Dave Waddell

Art lovers came out in force Thursday evening for the ribbon-cutting opening of Chico’s Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA).

About 270 people attended the hour-long event at the museum, housed in the sprawling, historic Veterans Memorial Hall at 900 Esplanade, said Pat Macias, MONCA president.

“We signed up seven new members and also made many new friends,” Macias said.

Through Aug. 27, MONCA is displaying “paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and photography from nearly 100 artists in Northern California,” says the museum’s website. Artists whose work is included in the collection include Ann Pierce, Claudia Steel, James Kuiper, Salvatore Casa and Richard Hornaday. read more

Timeline backs student’s retaliation claim DA’s probe tracked missing phone all over Chico

Madeline Hemphill

photo by Bianca Quilantan

Madeline Hemphill points to the bush along the Esplanade where she says she was “tackled” by a Chico police officer.

by Dave Waddell

While ruling out officer involvement in a missing cell phone mystery, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey also has disclosed details to ChicoSol that bolster a student’s claim of retaliation by Chico police.

Chico State senior Madeline Hemphill has maintained that five minutes or less elapsed between an initial confrontation with officer Steve Dyke and her arrest in front of her nearby residence. Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien, in contrast, issued a press statement two days after the Aug. 27, 2016, incident indicating a gap of 28 minutes between the two encounters. read more

Student now fears cops, has no phone Officer Dyke ‘traumatized’ driver with gun in 2011

photo courtesy of Madeline Hemphill

photo courtesy of Madeline Hemphill

by Dave Waddell

If Chico police officer Steve Dyke’s intent last summer was to get Madeline Hemphill to quit filming police with her cell phone, that mission definitely was accomplished.

One reason is practical: Hemphill no longer has her cell phone. Police claim it was lost when they arrested her in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2016, and accused her of resisting arrest. No charges, however, were ever brought against Hemphill by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

In a ChicoSol exclusive, Ramsey said Friday that his 10-month investigation into what became of the phone determined that police never had it. Most likely, Ramsey said, the phone was carried around town by a “transient.” The DA promised more details this week. read more

DA: Chico cops never had cell phone ‘Tackled’ student claimed retaliation for filming

photo by Karen LasloButte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell

Chico police never had the cell phone of a Chico State student who says the phone contained video showing excessive police force, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey told ChicoSol late Friday.

In a telephone voice message left for ChicoSol, Ramsey said he suspects a “transient” had the phone in the days after it left student Madeline Hemphill’s possession as she was arrested last August. Hemphill was filming officer Steve Dyke as he arrested her roommate when she was suddenly ordered to jail by Dyke, “tackled” to the ground by other officers, and accused of resisting arrest. read more

ChicoSol to be represented on national conference panel Editor to speak on covering hate incidents

Leslie Layton
Leslie Layton

By Dave Waddell

ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton will speak Thursday in Phoenix at a panel discussion on covering bigotry, with journalists from publications that rank among the nation’s biggest names in investigative reporting.

Joining Layton to discuss “Investigating Hate” at the 2017 Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference will be Josh Harkinson, a senior reporter at Mother Jones; AC Thompson, a reporter for ProPublica; and Carlos Martinez de la Serna, director of innovation at Univision.

Layton was invited speak at the IRE conference after the publication of a two-part ChicoSol series that explored a hate/free speech controversy engulfing Chico State last semester. read more

Autopsy: Phillips shot 11 times, not 10 Mortal heart wound from sharply downward shot

Phillips family photo Desmond Phillips

Phillips family photo

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed by Chico police on March 17, was hit by 11 bullets — not shot 10 times, as Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey has claimed — according to a forensic autopsy report reviewed by ChicoSol.

One of those 11 rounds hit Phillips in the nose and then re-entered his body through his chest, creating a total of 12 gunshot entry wounds, says the autopsy report. That same bullet, which the report says traveled in a downward direction at a “sharp angle,” tore through Phillips’ heart, causing his most grievous wound. read more