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. read more

Jan. 1 event set for Desmond Phillips, AB392 Chico PD victim’s life, new state law to be celebrated

Desmond Phillips

by Dave Waddell

A celebration to both remember the life of Desmond Phillips and to ring in a new state law governing police killings will be held on the first day of 2020.

The Jan. 1 potluck will include music and speakers and be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Faith Lutheran Church of Chico, 667 E. First Ave. The public is encouraged to participate by the sponsoring Justice for Desmond Phillips group, said David Phillips, Desmond’s father. read more

‘Cluster of mistakes’ by officers in Rushing killing Cop experts: Police dog attack on Tyler caused flailing

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

A law enforcement veteran who is also a police dog expert has called the strategy used to apprehend wounded Tyler Rushing “a cluster of mistakes from the time the officers knew where Rushing was barricaded, until he was shot and killed.”

Ernest Burwell, a Thompson Falls, Mont.-based consultant, was hired by Rushing’s family to study and evaluate the July 23, 2017, shooting of the 34-year-old Ventura man at a downtown Chico title company. Rushing was behaving bizarrely on the title company’s property when he was shot once by private security guard Edgar Sanchez, whom he had attacked and cut with a small glass flower pot. read more

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