Citizen group unveils Chico PD reform steps Calls for police culture in which ‘all Chicoans feel safe’

photo by Karen Laslo
CC4J Coordinator Emily Alma explains an eight-step police reform proposal.

by Dave Waddell

Akin to this year’s killing of George Floyd nationally, the gunning down of Desmond Phillips by Chico police in 2017 outraged and galvanized a community. That local movement came together last week to unveil what is called a plan for transforming policing in Chico.

The eight-step proposal for reform of the Chico Police Department includes calls for greater community oversight of the police and better use of de-escalation strategies in mental health and other crises, among other priorities. Emily Alma, coordinator of Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J), spoke Thursday (Sept. 24) of the group’s aims, standing in front of the sculpture of hands outside City Hall and while flanked by a couple dozen supporters. read more

Third anniversary of Rushing killing observed Family files quick appeal after lawsuit tossed in federal court

photo by Dave Waddell

by Dave Waddell

Scott Rushing, wearing his only son’s blue polo work shirt, had a question Thursday evening for two dozen people attending a sidewalk vigil on the third anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death.

How many people have Chico police killed since Tyler died on a bloody bathroom floor inside a title company on July 23, 2017? The answer, as many in the group knew, is zero.

“Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. … I believe we’ve saved lives,” Rushing said of the activism that followed the killings of his son and Desmond Phillips, a young Black man in mental crisis who was gunned down by Chico police on March 17, 2017. read more

What do Chico councilors seek in new top cop? Q&A on priorities, Floyd killing fallout, community policing

photo by Leslie Layton

Mayor Ann Schwab

by Dave Waddell

In Chico’s way of government, the city manager selects the chief of police. Since the city manager, Mark Orme, takes his marching orders from the City Council, ChicoSol thought community members would like to hear from council members about their priorities for the selection of Mike O’Brien’s successor.

O’Brien retired last week after five years as chief. His deputy, Matt Madden, is serving as interim chief.

All seven council members were asked to answer three questions via email and given a week to do so. ChicoSol received responses from five councilors – Sean Morgan, Scott Huber, Alex Brown, Ann Schwab and Randall Stone. Karl Ory and Kasey Reynolds did not respond. read more

Chico responds: Who are police protecting? Vice mayor proposes police reform

photo by Leslie Layton
Darrisha Daniel

by Leslie Layton

Darrisha Daniel attended the police brutality protest at City Plaza Friday for a simple reason: She believes policing in this country needs a “whole overhaul.”

Daniel, an African American psychology major who recently transferred to Chico State, says too many blacks get caught up in “routine” traffic stops and end up “arrested or even dead for no cause.”

“These days it becomes a question as to, who are they protecting and who are they serving?” Daniel said of police. Law enforcement, she noted, swallows up huge chunks of local budgets and government should ensure that “people in those uniforms are there to protect the community.” read more

City re-examines police advisory board Some want more transparency from Chico PD

photo by Leslie Layton
Chico Police Chief Michael O’Brien is retiring in June.

by Leslie Layton and Dave Waddell

Item 5.5 on tonight’s City Council agenda could easily be overlooked given other hot-button topics competing for attention. But it could be instrumental in shaping police-community relations.

Mayor Randall Stone has agendized a discussion on the Police Community Advisory Board (PCAB), a nine-member panel, in a bid to press for more transparency from Chico Police Department. [Editor’s note: Stone tabled the discussion at the Feb. 18 meeting until a replacement for the retiring chief is appointed.] read more

Chico cops report zero hate crimes in 2018 Anecdotal reports tell another story

photo by Karen Laslo
2017 Desmond Phillips vigil at Chico Police Department.

by Leslie Layton

Zero. That’s the number of hate crimes that took place in Chico in 2018, according to reports to the FBI from the Chico Police Department and Chico State’s University Police Department.

That zero doesn’t reflect what happened to an African American man, who has said he was pelted with beer cans last year by several white people in a pickup truck who were using the N-word. He never reported the incident to police, but his girlfriend saw the bruises.

The zero also doesn’t reflect other unreported incidents, and it doesn’t reflect incidents that may have been driven by hate that didn’t surface in a police report or court hearing. And it certainly doesn’t reflect overt and subtle offenses that left people who were subjected to them feeling hurt and scared. read more