Rushing shooting under review by state AG Two Chico police killings in 2017 focus of inquiries

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

Over Mike Ramsey’s 30-plus-year tenure as Butte County district attorney, outside reviews of his rulings in officer-involved shootings have been, to use his word, “rare.” That dramatically changed in recent months as the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is examining the facts and findings from two deadly Chico Police Department shootings in 2017.

A letter announcing a review of the July 23 shooting of Tyler Rushing has been made available to ChicoSol by his father, Scott Rushing of Ventura.

Earlier, David Phillips, father of Desmond Phillips, who was killed by Chico police last March 17, said he was told by Becerra personally that the AG’s office was investigating his son’s shooting. read more

Tiny House Club helps shelter homeless Chico's first tiny house underway

by Karen Laslo

On this past Sunday morning, Charles Withuhn of the Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT), along with a retired contractor and nine Chico State students from the Tiny House Club, showed up behind the university’s Langdon Hall to get to work on the first tiny house in Chico. (Click on arrows to see slideshow below.)

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Their goal for the day: To put up the framed walls they’d previously hammered together at another work session.

Withuhn said they were building the tiny house because of the many “unsheltered” people in our community. The goal is to house for the least amount of money as many people as possible and as soon as possible. read more

Art lovers turn out for Amick’s last show Chico artist's work on display all month

Scores of friends, family, acquaintances and art aficionados gathered at Beatnik’s Coffee House in Chico Sunday afternoon for Molly Amick’s Paper Collage Art Opening, consisting of 23 pieces of art ranging from originals to prints down to postcard size. A steady stream of people visited with Amick, who is in the late stages of inoperable breast cancer, exchanging their love for the person and her art in smooches and kind words.

Amick’s art will be on display for purchase the entire month of March at Beatnik’s Coffee House and Breakfast Joint, 1387 E. Eighth St., Chico — video feature by Guillermo Mash. read more

Intern wins Freedom of Information award In-depth stories for The Orion and ChicoSol recognized

photo by Jason Halley, CSUC photographer

Gabriel Sandoval

by Dave Waddell

ChicoSol intern Gabriel Sandoval is being honored by the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California for his investigative reporting.

The SPJ chapter will present Sandoval with its 2018 James Madison Freedom of Information Award, Student Journalist category, at a banquet March 27 in San Francisco. The award is intended to honor freedom-of-information and First Amendment champions, according to SPJ NorCal.

The accolade recognizes Sandoval for two investigative stories about a deal that kept a former top administrator, Lori Hoffman, on Chico State’s payroll for 16 months and paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars after she left the university. First for a story for The Orion, Chico State’s student newspaper, and later in a second in-depth piece for ChicoSol, Sandoval used documents he obtained through public records requests to delve into Hoffman’s contractual and work arrangements. read more

Sergeant in assault case logged massive overtime District attorney: Chokehold incident caught on body camera

ChicoSol/Tehama Group Communications graphic

by Dave Waddell

Scott Ruppel, a former police sergeant involved in two fatal shootings and facing an assault charge for an alleged on-duty choking incident, worked many thousands of hours of overtime during his nearly 20 years at Chico PD.

One year, Ruppel logged more than 700 overtime hours, becoming not only the highest-compensated employee in the city’s largest department but among the top five employees in total compensation in all of Chico municipal government.

Ruppel retired Sept. 15 prior to a scheduled internal affairs interview about police body camera footage allegedly showing the sergeant putting a handcuffed, seat-belted suspect into a stranglehold for eight seconds, said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. Ruppel, whose annual CalPERS pension is in the six figures, has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of assault under “color of authority.” His next Superior Court date is set for Feb. 28. read more