Sheriff’s office responsive, Chico PD obstructive Two agencies, two different responses to our public records request

photo by Karen Laslo

Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien

commentary by Dave Waddell

Last March, I spoke at a League of Women Voters of Butte County forum having to do with public access to law enforcement records.

That Sunshine Week forum, which included Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea and police reformers Emily Alma and Margaret Swick, gave me an opportunity to vent a bit about the most secretive public agency I’ve dealt with as a journalist: the city of Chico. read more

Chico cops report zero hate crimes in 2018 Anecdotal reports tell another story

photo by Karen Laslo
2017 Desmond Phillips vigil at Chico Police Department.

by Leslie Layton

Zero. That’s the number of hate crimes that took place in Chico in 2018, according to reports to the FBI from the Chico Police Department and Chico State’s University Police Department.

That zero doesn’t reflect what happened to an African American man, who has said he was pelted with beer cans last year by several white people in a pickup truck who were using the N-word. He never reported the incident to police, but his girlfriend saw the bruises. read more

Jan. 1 event set for Desmond Phillips, AB392 Chico PD victim’s life, new state law to be celebrated

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

A celebration to both remember the life of Desmond Phillips and to ring in a new state law governing police killings will be held on the first day of 2020.

The Jan. 1 potluck will include music and speakers and be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Faith Lutheran Church of Chico, 667 E. First Ave. The public is encouraged to participate by the sponsoring Justice for Desmond Phillips group, said David Phillips, Desmond’s father. read more

Micalizio ‘would never do anything against police’ Reports: Woman shot dead by Butte deputy had tried to help CHP officer

Hali McKelvie with her mother, Myra Micalizio, in 2014. Photo courtesy of family.

by Dave Waddell

Not long after Myra Micalizio was shot five times in the back and killed last year by a Butte County sheriff’s deputy, District Attorney Mike Ramsey declared before television cameras that Micalizio had tried to attack deputies with her vehicle.

Micalizio’s family never bought that scenario, but Ramsey reaffirmed it many months later when issuing a report clearing deputies Charles Lair and Mary Barker of any criminal wrongdoing in the killing. Micalizio’s three children – Lisa Rutledge, Sean McKelvie and Hali McKelvie – recently settled a wrongful death suit against Butte County for $250,000, said County Counsel Bruce Alpert. read more

County releases Micalizio documents ChicoSol requests officers' records under SB 1421

Myra Micalizio (left) with her daughter, Hali McKelvie.

by Leslie Layton

In July 2018, a Sacramento civil rights attorney noted just how much information had been withheld in the shooting by Butte County sheriff’s deputies three months earlier that had killed a Palermo woman.

Myra Micalizio, 56, died in April of that year during an encounter with a pair of deputies who together fired 13 rounds. Attorney Mark Merin, representing Micalizio’s family, issued a press release noting that Butte County had “refused to produce any interviews, investigation reports… statements of the officers, coroner’s report…” read more

‘Cluster of mistakes’ by officers in Rushing killing Cop experts: Police dog attack on Tyler caused flailing

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

A law enforcement veteran who is also a police dog expert has called the strategy used to apprehend wounded Tyler Rushing “a cluster of mistakes from the time the officers knew where Rushing was barricaded, until he was shot and killed.”

Ernest Burwell, a Thompson Falls, Mont.-based consultant, was hired by Rushing’s family to study and evaluate the July 23, 2017, shooting of the 34-year-old Ventura man at a downtown Chico title company. Rushing was behaving bizarrely on the title company’s property when he was shot once by private security guard Edgar Sanchez, whom he had attacked and cut with a small glass flower pot. read more