Settlement ends lawsuit against City of Chico Vice mayor makes 11th-hour bid to postpone settlement

photo by Karen Laslo
Evicted campers leave their site after a sweep.

by Leslie Layton / commentary
posted Jan. 15

A settlement agreement in the lawsuit related to the city’s treatment of unhoused people, signed Friday by a federal judge, could end the spectacle of chaotic mass evictions that stranded campers who had nowhere to go.

Early last year, a newly-installed City Council began a series of sweeps in parks, near waterways and on patches of grass on public land.

Journalists watched as workers came in atop tractors, rumbling through encampments where displaced people had pitched tents and had failed to move their few belongings to who knows where – until we weren’t allowed to watch. read more

DA Ramsey, Chico PD skirt sunshine laws Information withheld in Butte County officer-involved killings

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

by Leslie Layton
story updated at 4 p.m. Nov. 4

Local law enforcement agencies violated the law when they failed to respond fully and promptly – the Butte County District Attorney’s Office didn’t respond for months — to public record requests made by a local journalist.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey didn’t respond to a pair of public record requests made by ChicoSol contributor Dave Waddell during the 10-day period required by the California Public Records Act (CPRA), and in fact didn’t respond at all until Waddell hired an attorney. read more

Desmond’s killers told inconsistent stories DA's interview dubbed incompetent by cop expert

Desmond Phillips was killed by police on March 17, 2017.

by Dave Waddell

Two young Chico police officers, on the night in 2017 they gunned Desmond Phillips down, told conflicting stories to investigators about what Phillips was doing in the seconds before he was slain.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, apparently uncomfortable with those discrepancies, brought Desmond’s killers together nearly three weeks later for a group re-interview that “no competent investigator” would have conducted, says Seth Stoughton, a former detective and nationally recognized expert on police practices. read more

Tyler Rushing in grasp of deputy when shot by cop New videos reveal details kept secret by DA Ramsey

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

(Ed. note: This is part II in a three-part series on investigative video that was obtained through Public Records Act requests and with the help of the writer’s attorney. Read part I here.)

A Butte County sheriff’s deputy had both his hands on the flailing, severely wounded Tyler Rushing and was about to “sweep” him to the floor when Chico police Sgt. Scott Ruppel rushed forward and shot Rushing twice at nearly point blank range.

That’s one of the interesting details that emerge in newly released video related to the July 23, 2017, killing of Rushing on the site of a downtown business. read more

Videos withheld from Rushing family in suit? Young K9 deputy, not Chico PD brass, devised fatal siege

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

Billy Aldridge, now second in command at the Chico Police Department, seems to have stood on the sidelines four years ago while underlings rammed into a downtown restroom and, 42 seconds later, shot Tyler Rushing to his death.

Aldridge, then a lieutenant and now Chico’s police commander, became vocal after the shooting, ordering several officers who witnessed the incident to quit talkin and directing another to turn off his body-worn camera.

Those details and numerous other facts not previously disclosed by authorities are coming to light following the release to this reporter — under threat of a lawsuit — of videotaped officer interviews. However, both Chico Police Chief Matt Madden and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey have refused to release reams of investigative reports about the Rushing case, as well as about other recent officer-involved killings by Chico PD, including the deaths of Desmond Phillips in 2017 and Stephen Vest in 2020. read more

Vigil honors those killed by law enforcement "Say Their Name," on Memorial Day anniversary killing of George Floyd, draws dozens

photo by Leslie Layton
Chicoan Char Prieto participated in the Memorial Day vigil.

by Leslie Layton

Sometimes change happens quietly, and sometimes there is a quiet — almost imperceptible –shift in consciousness on a social issue that surprises.

A vigil held on this Memorial Day to remember people killed by law enforcement officers and encourage police reform was organized around the belief that messages can sometimes be heard best when people are quietest. About 50 people gathered for the “Say Their Name” vigil organized by Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J) at the Bidwell Park One Mile. read more