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

City Council: Arm the park rangers Bidwell Park rangers will carry guns and receive police training

photo by Leslie Layton

Councilor Randall Stone voted in opposition.

by Dave Waddell

Bidwell Park’s three rangers will begin carrying guns and taking their orders from the Chico Police Department as a result of a plan approved Tuesday night by the City Council.

The conservative majority of the council held sway in the 4-2 vote, with council members Ann Schwab and Randall Stone in the minority and Karl Ory absent.

“You can’t convince me this is anything but a revenue grab for the Police Department from the Public Works Department,” Stone said. “The park is the perpetual whipping boy … to placate a Police Department that needs to grow.” read more

Art show remembrance “so Desmond” Efforts continue to get state investigation of Phillips shooting

Olive Bone, though just 14 months old, already knows what she likes when it comes to art, pointing Sunday to a piece displayed at the “Portraits of Desmond” art show in remembrance of Desmond Phillips. Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, was shot dead by Chico police in his living room March 17. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled the killing justified, but a group called Justice for Desmond Phillips has asked the state attorney general’s office for an independent criminal investigation. The Phillips family also is represented by the office of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris of Oakland. David Phillips, Desmond’s father, called the art pieces at the weekend exhibit at Estes Ranch “so Desmond" -- photo and story by Dave Waddell.

Chico buys guns for cops to own City’s gun-buying escalated with Down Range

photo by Karen Laslo
Down Range Indoor Training Center sign

by Dave Waddell

In the last three years alone, the financially strapped city of Chico has paid out nearly $25,000 to buy at least 40 guns of undisclosed types for the personal ownership of its police officers, according to a search of online records by ChicoSol.

Such gun transactions – made possible by a $900 per year “uniform allowance” afforded to all of the Chico Police Department’s more than 90 “sworn personnel” – skyrocketed with the advent of the Down Range Indoor Training Center three years ago.

Down Range, which is outside city limits along Highway 99 on the northern entrance to Chico, is known for boldly advertising the sale of assault rifles, especially around some holidays. The business is co-owned by Chico police officer Steve Dyke and has been gaining a bigger slice of Chico PD’s gun-buying pie each year. read more

Man killed downtown by Chico cop Second fatal police shooting in four months

by Dave Waddell

For the second time in four months, a man has been shot dead by Chico police.

An officer fired his weapon at the unidentified white man inside Mid Valley Title and Escrow in the 600 block of Main Street in downtown Chico shortly after 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

According to Chico police Lt. Billy Aldridge, a man had wounded two police officers and a private security guard with a knife. The officers were treated and released at Enloe Medical Center, while the guard received a “significant” wound.

In the Police Department’s initial statement released this morning, the names of the man killed, the security guard and the officers involved were not divulged. Aldridge said that an investigation of the incident that was started by Chico PD had been turned over to the Butte County Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Team headed up by District Attorney Mike Ramsey. read more

No sergeant at scene of Phillips killing Young cops entered home after 'no de-escalation' measures

photo by Dave Waddell
photo of Desmond Phillips

 

by Dave Waddell

The Chico police sergeant who gave the green light to sending two relatively inexperienced cops after mentally ill Desmond Phillips with their guns drawn was nowhere near the Phillips residence at the time.

According to computer-assisted dispatch reports obtained by David Phillips, Desmond’s father, and made available to ChicoSol, Sgt. Todd Lefkowitz did not get to the scene until 14 minutes after he was first dispatched and eight minutes after Desmond, a 25-year-old black man, was gunned down by police. Lefkowitz arrived at 7:41 p.m. on March 17, or at approximately the same time the mortally wounded Desmond was carted out of his home and taken to Enloe Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead with a grievous heart wound. read more