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.

Chico PD sent six officers Oct. 8-12 to the ninth annual Butte County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, which was sponsored by Butte College and is patterned after the so-called Memphis Model approach to the treatment by police of individuals 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

Reformers, police chief agree on principles Concerned Citizens for Justice wants culture change, oversight

photo by Dave Waddell
Margaret Swick

by Dave Waddell

They aren’t yet holding hands and singing “Kumbaya,” but citizens wanting culture change at Chico PD are in basic agreement with Police Chief Mike O’Brien on principles for reform.

The group, Concerned Citizens for Justice (CCJ) — which will hold its monthly community meeting this evening — has produced a six-point plan for reform to encourage use of de-escalation practices by Chico police and to ensure there is training in behavioral health crisis intervention.

CCJ meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Rhema Hall, 574 E. 12th St. in Chico. read more

Citizen review of Chico police urged by group Phillips, Rushing shootings prompted six-point reform plan

photo by Karen Laslo

Emily Alma

By Dave Waddell

A group of citizens that has produced an ambitious “vision” for Chico police reform first came together last year after the officer-involved-shooting deaths of Desmond Phillips and Tyler Rushing.

“We were like magnets,” said Margaret Swick, a member of a group calling itself Concerned Citizens for Justice. “We were just pulled together. We were just concerned about the police shootings.”

On Monday (June 18) from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Concerned Citizens for Justice will give a community airing to its six-point program for “improving the climate of respect between law enforcement and the community.” One reform the group describes as “essential” is establishing “an independent, impartial citizen board with authority to review all police files.” The public meeting will be held at the Chico branch of the Butte County Library, 1108 Sherman Ave. 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