Scores of stolen guns found in Chico annually Most are pistols, but AR-15-style rifles are also recovered

ChicoSol and Tehama Group Communications infographic

by Gabriel Sandoval and Dave Waddell

Against a backdrop of rising gun thefts nationally, a stolen gun is recovered by authorities in Chico an average of once every eight days. And while nearly three-fourths of all stolen guns in the city are pistols, multiple stolen assault rifles are recovered each year.

That’s based on data from an 18-month investigation by The Trace, a nonprofit news organization, and more than a dozen NBC-owned television stations, which collected information on stolen guns from hundreds of law enforcement agencies and collaborated on a series of reports last year. read more

Two fathers take food to City Plaza Phillips memorial becomes an act of sharing

The “One Year Without Justice for Desmond Phillips” gathering at the Chico Women’s Club on March 17 had dozens of hamburgers and hot dogs left over that were given out with fellowship and kindness at Chico’s downtown plaza by Scott Rushing and David Phillips, whose sons were both killed in shootings that involved Chico police officers.

Tyler Rushing was killed in July, 2017, after being shot by a security guard and police, and Desmond Phillips was killed by Chico police one year ago. video feature by Guillermo Mash

Rushing shooting under review by state AG Two Chico police killings in 2017 focus of inquiries

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

Over Mike Ramsey’s 30-plus-year tenure as Butte County district attorney, outside reviews of his rulings in officer-involved shootings have been, to use his word, “rare.” That dramatically changed in recent months as the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is examining the facts and findings from two deadly Chico Police Department shootings in 2017.

A letter announcing a review of the July 23 shooting of Tyler Rushing has been made available to ChicoSol by his father, Scott Rushing of Ventura.

Earlier, David Phillips, father of Desmond Phillips, who was killed by Chico police last March 17, said he was told by Becerra personally that the AG’s office was investigating his son’s shooting. read more

Sergeant in assault case logged massive overtime District attorney: Chokehold incident caught on body camera

ChicoSol/Tehama Group Communications graphic

by Dave Waddell

Scott Ruppel, a former police sergeant involved in two fatal shootings and facing an assault charge for an alleged on-duty choking incident, worked many thousands of hours of overtime during his nearly 20 years at Chico PD.

One year, Ruppel logged more than 700 overtime hours, becoming not only the highest-compensated employee in the city’s largest department but among the top five employees in total compensation in all of Chico municipal government.

Ruppel retired Sept. 15 prior to a scheduled internal affairs interview about police body camera footage allegedly showing the sergeant putting a handcuffed, seat-belted suspect into a stranglehold for eight seconds, said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. Ruppel, whose annual CalPERS pension is in the six figures, has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of assault under “color of authority.” His next Superior Court date is set for Feb. 28. read more

Rushing’s parents file claim in cop shooting Desmond Phillips’ family sues city in federal court

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

The parents of Tyler Rushing, who died after being shot by a private security guard and a Chico police sergeant last summer, have filed a claim against the city for damages in excess of $25,000.

The claim, received by the city Jan. 17, was obtained by ChicoSol through a state Public Records Act request. As of last week, the city had not responded to the claim, said Dani Rogers, deputy city clerk.

Six days after the Rushing filing, on Jan. 23, relatives of Desmond Phillips brought suit against the city in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento for unspecified damages. The lawsuit was filed by the office of prominent civil rights attorney John L. Burris of Oakland. Phillips, a 25-year-old black man in mental crisis, was shot 11 times by two officers on March 17, 2017, in his own living room after his father called for medical aid. read more

Chico PD sergeants to wear body cameras Activist wants to see community oversight of videos

photo by Dave Waddell

Sherri Quammen holds a protest sign calling for justice for three victims of shootings by Chico police officers.

by Dave Waddell

Police Chief Mike O’Brien — lauding the use of body-worn cameras by his patrol officers — says cameras will also soon be attached to the blue uniforms of Chico PD’s 13 sergeants.

As first reported here by ChicoSol, Chico Police Department patrol officers began sporting the body cameras last April, a couple of weeks after two policemen shot and killed Desmond Phillips, a young black man in mental crisis.

O’Brien said that after 10½ months of use, he would give the camera experience a “very favorable” evaluation. read more