DA: Chico cops never had cell phone ‘Tackled’ student claimed retaliation for filming

photo by Karen LasloButte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell

Chico police never had the cell phone of a Chico State student who says the phone contained video showing excessive police force, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey told ChicoSol late Friday.

In a telephone voice message left for ChicoSol, Ramsey said he suspects a “transient” had the phone in the days after it left student Madeline Hemphill’s possession as she was arrested last August. Hemphill was filming officer Steve Dyke as he arrested her roommate when she was suddenly ordered to jail by Dyke, “tackled” to the ground by other officers, and accused of resisting arrest. read more

Autopsy: Phillips shot 11 times, not 10 Mortal heart wound from sharply downward shot

Phillips family photo Desmond Phillips

Phillips family photo

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed by Chico police on March 17, was hit by 11 bullets — not shot 10 times, as Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey has claimed — according to a forensic autopsy report reviewed by ChicoSol.

One of those 11 rounds hit Phillips in the nose and then re-entered his body through his chest, creating a total of 12 gunshot entry wounds, says the autopsy report. That same bullet, which the report says traveled in a downward direction at a “sharp angle,” tore through Phillips’ heart, causing his most grievous wound. read more

De-escalation makes a difference, Summers says Retired officer advocates 'Memphis Model'



Retired police officer Mike Summers of West Sacramento addressed a crowd of about a hundred people Thursday evening at a community workshop on Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training at Chico’s First Christian Church. Summers is an advocate of the so-called Memphis Model of de-escalation, which he said resulted in a dramatic decrease in officer-involved shootings in the Tennessee city beginning in the late ‘80s.

Summers said law enforcement officers are typically trained at police academies to exhibit a “command presence,” which doesn’t always work well in dealing with the mentally ill. Thursday’s event was hosted by Crisis Care Advocacy and Triage in the wake of the killing of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man who was shot 11 times by Chico police on March 17. ChicoSol will publish a follow-up story on the Phillips shooting on June 17. -- photo and story by Dave Waddell.

Community celebrates Desmond Phillips’ life 'Justice for Desmond Phillips' group plans Capitol rally

photo by Dave Waddell

photo by Dave Waddell

by Dave Waddell

Hundreds of area residents turned out Sunday evening to celebrate the life of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill black man gunned down March 17 by Chico police.

Money from the barbecue/entertainment fundraiser at 20th Street Park will be used by the Phillips family to seek justice for Phillips, organizers said.

Next up for the group will be a June 9 rally beginning at 3 p.m. at the state Capitol in Sacramento, where demonstrators will march to the California Attorney General’s Office seeking a state probe of the killing.

“It went just wonderful,” said David Phillips, Desmond’s father, of Sunday’s fundraiser. “So many people there, and so much love. People from different walks of life enjoying each other. And that’s Desmond right there.” read more

Scaled-back plans to arm park rangers Speakers differ on whether guns aid park safety

photo by Karen LasloElaina McReynolds

photo by Karen Laslo

Elaina McReynolds

by Dave Waddell

A proposal to turn Bidwell Park’s three rangers into Chico police officers was scaled back Tuesday to arming just two of them as cops and having the third ranger work to bolster park volunteerism.

The so-called “hybrid” plan, outlined by Chris Constantin, assistant city manager, drew mixed reactions from members of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, as well as mostly skepticism from citizens who spoke at a public hearing.

In an oddity at such hearings, one speaker, Dan Everhart, was interrupted twice during his brief testimony by commissioners who disagreed with his comments – first, pointedly, by Tom Nickell and a second time by Jeffrey Glatz. Commission Chair Marisa Stoller reminded commissioners that the purpose of the hearing was to receive public comments, and Glatz later apologized. read more

Professor blasts Chico cops in fatal shooting Police should act as 'peacekeepers,' not 'gunslingers'

Diane E. Schmidt
Diane E. Schmidt

by Dave Waddell

In an unusually pointed letter, a veteran professor in Chico State’s criminal justice program has blasted the killing of Desmond Phillips by Chico police as showing “extraordinarily poor training, flawed judgment, and gross ineptitude.”

Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, was shot 10 times by two officers in his father’s living room just 21 minutes after medical aid was first called to help him March 17.

In a letter dated May 15 to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, Professor Diane E. Schmidt called Phillips’ shooting both a failure of training by Chico PD and of oversight by officials such as Ramsey. The district attorney did not immediately return a call from ChicoSol seeking response to Schmidt’s letter. read more