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

Chico PD to get pilot mobile crisis counselors Mental health workers to aid cops 10 hours a day

Dorian Kittrell

by Dave Waddell

A pilot project is in the works that will provide the Chico Police Department – criticized for its lack of crisis intervention efforts in the past – with two mobile mental health counselors to work alongside police officers 10 hours a day.

The program is described in a Nov. 27 memorandum, written by Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell to the county Board of Supervisors and obtained by ChicoSol.

Kittrell said his department is working on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chico PD to assign two full-time mental health workers to the pilot mobile crisis response team, which will operate seven days a week from about 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. read more

Chico cop defends ‘Black Friday Matters’ sign Dyke claims Black Lives Matter promotes race violence

photo by Leslie Layton

Down Range co-owner and Vice President Steve Dyke

by Leslie Layton

The billboard stating in white lettering on a black background, “Black Friday Matters,” was for Down Range Indoor Training Center co-owner Steve Dyke a clever piece of Black Friday marketing that placed his gun shop in the news and public eye.

That it played off the name of Black Lives Matter, an organization tackling the problem of deadly police shootings in black communities, was not problematic for Dyke, who is also an officer in the Chico Police Department. Dyke argues that Black Lives Matter is based on a “false narrative.” read more

Desmond’s dad: State probing police killing AG Xavier Becerra overseeing Chico case ‘personally’

photo by Dave Waddell

David Phillips with photo of T-shirt.

by Dave Waddell

A state Department of Justice investigation has been launched into the Chico police killing of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man gunned down in his living room last March, Phillips’ father claimed at a news conference Monday.

Neither state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s press office nor Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey responded immediately to requests from ChicoSol for comment on David Phillips’ claim.

Ramsey previously ruled that the shooting by Chico police officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin, who together fired 16 rounds at Desmond Phillips, was justified. A wrongful death claim – often a precursor of a lawsuit – was filed by the Phillips family but denied by the city. read more

DA: Deputy killed armed man in self-defense Sniper Calkins was almost 130 yards away from Jensen

Butte County District Attorney’s slide

by Dave Waddell

A Butte County sheriff’s sniper was nearly 130 yards away from a drunken, pistol-waving Mark Jensen when the officer shot him dead with a rifle Aug. 17 in the roadway in front of his Durham residence.

The distance between the two men was about the same as from the back of one end zone to the back of the other end zone on a football field.

Jensen never fired his .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic, but the sniper, deputy Matt Calkins, peering through his rifle’s scope, believed Jensen was pointing the handgun at him and fired in self-defense, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled this week. Calkins was in a prone position behind a tree in an orchard wearing camouflage clothing, including a dirt-colored helmet, when he pulled the trigger on his .308 caliber rifle. read more

Desmond’s dad: Meeting set with AG Civil rights attorney reached out to Xavier Becerra

photo courtesy of the Phillips family

by Dave Waddell

A prominent lawyer representing the family of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed March 17 by Chico police, has arranged a face-to-face meeting with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to discuss the shooting, according to David Phillips, Desmond’s father.

The meeting will be held Nov. 9 at the AG’s office in San Francisco and include David Phillips and his attorney, John L. Burris of Oakland, Phillips said.

“Mr. Burris was the one who got the meeting with Xavier Becerra,” David Phillips told ChicoSol this week. “The purpose is to present our evidence … to have those officers fired and brought up on murder charges.” read more