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 an undisclosed weapon. 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

Timeline backs student’s retaliation claim DA’s probe tracked missing phone all over Chico

Madeline Hemphill

photo by Bianca Quilantan

Madeline Hemphill points to the bush along the Esplanade where she says she was “tackled” by a Chico police officer.

by Dave Waddell

While ruling out officer involvement in a missing cell phone mystery, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey also has disclosed details to ChicoSol that bolster a student’s claim of retaliation by Chico police.

Chico State senior Madeline Hemphill has maintained that five minutes or less elapsed between an initial confrontation with officer Steve Dyke and her arrest in front of her nearby residence. Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien, in contrast, issued a press statement two days after the Aug. 27, 2016, incident indicating a gap of 28 minutes between the two encounters. read more

Student now fears cops, has no phone Officer Dyke ‘traumatized’ driver with gun in 2011

photo courtesy of Madeline Hemphill

photo courtesy of Madeline Hemphill

by Dave Waddell

If Chico police officer Steve Dyke’s intent last summer was to get Madeline Hemphill to quit filming police with her cell phone, that mission definitely was accomplished.

One reason is practical: Hemphill no longer has her cell phone. Police claim it was lost when they arrested her in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2016, and accused her of resisting arrest. No charges, however, were ever brought against Hemphill by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

In a ChicoSol exclusive, Ramsey said Friday that his 10-month investigation into what became of the phone determined that police never had it. Most likely, Ramsey said, the phone was carried around town by a “transient.” The DA promised more details this week. read more