Cop who shot Desmond also Tased Tyler Officer Fliehr's combat history disclosed in testimony

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell
news analysis

Chico police officer Alex Fliehr, who fired first and the most in the Desmond Phillips killing, has testified about trying to shoot Tyler Rushing three months later. In the confrontation that killed Rushing, Fliehr also shot a Taser as Rushing lay prone, motionless and unarmed.

Those facts and others – including that Fliehr saw “action” in the Iraq war – have emerged in sworn testimony during depositions for wrongful death lawsuits filed against the city of Chico by the Phillips and Rushing families. The two men were both experiencing mental disorders when shot to death in 2017. read more

Desmond attorney: Judge erred Quick reversal to be sought in Chico police killing suit

photo courtesy of Phillips family

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

SACRAMENTO – When a conservative federal judge this week blocked claims for damages sought by Desmond Phillips’ family, Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien quickly spun out a press release saying the judge had justified Phillips’ controversial police killing.

However, Ben Nisenbaum, an attorney for the family, told ChicoSol in a Wednesday phone interview that Judge John Mendez erred in his rulings in court Tuesday. Once Mendez’s words are sorted out, Nisenbaum believes Phillips’ survivors will get the jury trial they are seeking. read more

Girl, 11, says she was tackled by Chico cops Her exposed breasts fueled police vs. kids confrontation

photo by Dave Waddell
An 11-year-old girl says she was tackled by officers.

by Dave Waddell

An 11-year-old girl, whose guardian grandparents had asked police to conduct a “welfare check,” says she was tackled by two Chico police officers, leading to an ugly confrontation recently between cops and kids in Bidwell Park.

Teenagers who were at the scene say they were outraged because, as the officers kneed the prone 11-year-old to the dirt, her small top came up to her neck and her breasts were left exposed. In videos of the July 5 incident, the teens can be seen becoming animated over their insistence that her breasts be covered. read more

Ex-sergeant missed ‘no work’ after Rushing shooting Former Chico police Sgt. Ruppel acquitted of assault in later choking incident

Chico PD press release

by Dave Waddell

Court testimony last week by former Chico police Sgt. Scott Ruppel uncovered a secret that city officials have tried their darnedest to keep the public from knowing: Ruppel took no time off from work after shooting Tyler Rushing twice at point-blank range in July 2017.

Rushing’s father, Scott Rushing of Ventura, called the revelation “monstrous, sickening, disturbing.”

“How can a mentally healthy human being kill another in a violent shooting one day, and the next day work your shift like the events of the prior evening were just another day at the office?” Scott Rushing said. read more

Fewer officers overall attend Butte crisis training ‘Memphis Model’ in county has been ‘opportunity lost’

photo by Dave Waddell

Sal Ventura

by Dave Waddell

During a period in which five people were killed by law enforcement in Butte County, overall attendance at the county’s annual week-long training program in crisis intervention has been in steep decline.

However, the Chico Police Department – roundly criticized for past absences at crisis intervention trainings – has stepped up participation since the killing of Desmond Phillips, a young black man in mental crisis. read more

Council forum on Chico police draws packed house Organizers claim distortions by one candidate, Chico E-R

photo by Karen Laslo

City Council candidate Rich Ober

by Dave Waddell

The four Chico City Council candidates speaking at a forum Monday night agreed on the need for fundamental change at Chico PD, including increased crisis intervention training, greater citizen oversight, and more cops out walking and on bicycles.

Those candidates – Alex Brown, Scott Huber, Rich Ober and Ken Rensink – for two hours answered questions from Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J), which sponsored the forum, as well as from members of an audience that filled a meeting room at the Chico branch of the Butte County Library. read more