First shooter in police killing sued multiple times Gridley PD has no record of investigating officer’s prior shooting

screenshot from 2019 body cam video

by Dave Waddell
posted Jan. 25

Anthony Lara, the Gridley police officer who fired first in the fatal shooting of a man in mental crisis, has been a defendant in at least two lawsuits claiming excessive force and civil rights violations.

Lara initiated police gunfire that on Jan. 2 killed Baltazar Rubio, 43, of Gridley, who was allegedly pointing an unloaded handgun. The barrage came to total 31 shots fired by three Gridley-Biggs Police Department officers. Police bullets sped both directions down a skinny alley in the middle of a normally peaceful neighborhood, leaving residents stunned and shaken. read more

An open letter to the new Chico police chief Gold: 'Change the culture of police violence'

photo by Leslie Layton
Billy Aldridge was a captain at Chico Police Department and was promoted to chief on Dec. 20.

by George Gold
column posted Dec. 21

I’m afraid to live in Chico. Not because I might be mugged, not because I might get shot in a carjacking, but I am worried that on any given day I could be shot by someone representing our police department.

Rather than budgetary increases for the much needed road repairs all over Chico, rather than funds to help those of us who may live without a home, rather than funds to provide more robust care for many of the mental health challenges we know are coursing through our communities every day, our City Council keeps approving more and more money for tactical and military-style weapons for the police. More than 50% of the City of Chico’s budget ends up on the police department balance sheet. read more

Mike Ramsey’s backward notions on mental illness Butte County’s forever DA has history of demonizing in-crisis victims

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County DA Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell
commentary posted Dec. 17

I know Butte County has an elderly district attorney, but who knew Mike Ramsey’s thinking on mental illness was so prehistoric?

I am referring to a quote from Ramsey, Butte’s 35-year (!) DA, in Leslie Layton’s ChicoSol story about the difficult societal problems presented by Thomas David Bona.

Bona is a serial criminal living with schizophrenia and a multitude of delusions. He thinks he’s a member of the Sureños gang, which he isn’t. He also seems to have violently acted out his perceived ties to “The Sopranos” television crime family. read more

Bona charged again with hate graffiti Chico conundrum: how to stop the vandalism

Thomas David Bona

by Leslie Layton
posted Nov. 15

Update: At a Nov. 16 hearing, a judge suspended criminal proceedings in this case and ordered a psychological examination of Thomas Bona that will be delivered Dec. 21. Bona had refused to come to court for the hearing.

Thomas David Bona, who has been in and out of the Butte County courtrooms and jail during the past 16 years, now faces felony charges with hate crime enhancements in connection with two recent graffiti incidents.

Bona is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 16 on charges related to the discovery of swastikas etched into the Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women mural at Cedar and Second streets and on the Congregation Beth Israel sign at the local synagogue. Both the mural and the temple sign had been partially burned. He’s also charged with throwing a rock through the window of a local restaurant. read more

Shootings at Teichert Ponds encampment alarm activists DA: Self defense "difficult thing" to overcome

photo by Natalie Hanson
A tent at the Teichert Ponds site.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov. 5

Shootings at Chico’s Teichert Ponds has some residents worried that unhoused people are facing increasing violence -– perhaps linked to rising levels of “dehumanizing” speech targeting them.

A shooting at the Ponds killed an unhoused man and left another seriously injured last year, and a shooting last month in the same preserve nearly killed another unhoused man. Both shootings involved people entering the Teichert Ponds encampment with the likely intent to “start a fight,” in District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s opinion. read more

Chico PD sued over ‘Gabe’ Sanchez slaying ChicoSol’s coverage raised doubts about his killer’s story

Gabriel Sanchez with his grandfather, Eddie, at the July memorial in Chico.

by Dave Waddell
posted Oct. 2

The father of Eddie Gabriel “Gabe” Sanchez, an armed robbery suspect shot to death by police officer Mark Bass in 2015, has sued Bass and the City of Chico on behalf of Sanchez’s teen-age son.

The wrongful death complaint was recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento by civil rights attorneys Stanley Goff of San Francisco and Fulvio Cajina of Oakland. In seeking unspecified damages, the complaint asserts violations of Sanchez’s son’s Fourth Amendment rights due to excessive police violence and of his 14th Amendment rights because of loss of the companionship of his father. read more