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

Professor blasts Chico cops in fatal shooting Police should act as 'peacekeepers,' not 'gunslingers'

Diane E. Schmidt
Diane E. Schmidt

by Dave Waddell

In an unusually pointed letter, a veteran professor in Chico State’s criminal justice program has blasted the killing of Desmond Phillips by Chico police as showing “extraordinarily poor training, flawed judgment, and gross ineptitude.”

Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, was shot 10 times by two officers in his father’s living room just 21 minutes after medical aid was first called to help him March 17.

In a letter dated May 15 to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, Professor Diane E. Schmidt called Phillips’ shooting both a failure of training by Chico PD and of oversight by officials such as Ramsey. The district attorney did not immediately return a call from ChicoSol seeking response to Schmidt’s letter. read more

When Hate Speech Became a Movement

Image via Flickr Creative Commons
Image via Flickr Creative Commons

by Andrew Lam,   New America Media 

Just over a year ago Microsoft introduced Tay, an AI chatbot that was designed to learn from and replicate online chatter. Tay, according to Business Insider, “responds to users’ queries and emulates the casual, jokey speech patterns of a stereotypical millennial.”

But within 24 hours, Tay was gone, the casualty of an online universe of hate a bigotry that is now shaping America’s political and social landscape.

“bush did 9/11,” and “hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have now.” That’s just a sampling of some of Tay’s choicest quips. read more

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Police-the-park plan is a “fork in the road” Public safety, park rangers and disposable people

photo by Karen LasloSome rangers are not interested in undergoing police training.

photo by Karen Laslo

Some rangers are not interested in undergoing police training.

by Steve Breedlove

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face forever” – George Orwell.

At this moment, Chico’s unelected city bureaucrats are in the process of moving Park Rangers into the Police Department, arming them and sidelining their function as naturalists and stewards of our recreational commons. Apparently, “broken windows” enforcement of minor infractions is the preferred method of addressing very real and material social problems.

In a public hearing (April 24 Parks Commission), the assistant city manager tried to deflect the dissent of citizens in attendance, advising us that the Council had not approved it. Curiously, he also argued it was imperative to set Police Academy dates this calendar year. read more

Lessons from James Baldwin On International Women's Day, his influence on my mother

James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet
James Baldwin portrait by Gus Bouquet

by Leslie Layton

My closest sense of connection to the writer James Baldwin comes not through the wonderful film showing through March 9 at the Pageant Theatre about him, and not even through iconic books like “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” which I read during my formative first year in college.

It comes through a painting of him, a less-than-literal interpretation of the mood and character that I might have glimpsed had I known James Baldwin as a boy. I keep that painting – which happens to be my most treasured keepsake from my late mother – hanging on a wall near whatever desk I use when I work – that is, when I really work — at writing. read more

An Election That Will Change Lives Trying to breathe again

nataliecharlesworth

by Natalie Charlesworth

Nov. 8, 2016:  I sat in math class, frantically checking the presidential election polls every chance that I got. The numbers were so close. Hillary, Trump, Hillary again, and then back to Trump. Jumbled thoughts like ping-pong balls bounced back and forth in my mind. My palms, sweaty. My anxiety increasingly getting worse. I began to wonder, why I had even decided to attend class that day? I then put my phone down and got back to what I should have been doing –focusing on math.

As I walked into the house later that evening, I saw my mom sitting on the couch. I could tell just by looking at her that she was nervous. Her freckled face pale, and her eyes watery. We sat in silence for awhile, not knowing what to say. The first words spoken came from my mouth: “Donald Trump isn’t even the scariest part of this election; it’s that his blatant racism, homophobia and misogyny wasn’t a deal breaker for his supporters. Instead of putting them off, they have interpreted his words as validation to say or do whatever they want.’’ read more