“Crimes against humanity” underway in police killings George Gold: Reform must proceed

Reform advocate George Gold

by George Gold
guest commentary

We live in unprecedented times. Pandemic. Impeachment. Insurrection. Police across the United States killing American citizens, repeatedly.

In Chico, the killings must be properly named: Desmond Phillips, Tyler Rushing, Stephen Vest. According to the United Nations, crimes against humanity are defined as “… certain acts that are purposely committed as part of a widespread or systematic policy, directed against civilians, in times of war or peace.”

These days, with so many opportunities, people often say, I want justice for Desmond, or justice for Tyler, or justice for Stephen, but rather than some sort of homily of sorrow or regret, justice will be served when we have change. The Chico Police Department must change its tactics, its operating procedures, its mindset, its culture, its behavior. Stephen Vest was shot and killed by Chico police eight seconds after they arrived on the scene; he was shot 11 times. 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.

Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old black and Miwok Native man in mental crisis, was shot 11 times in his own living room by Chico police officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin on March 17, 2017, just seconds after they entered the residence. Phillips was born on the first day of 1992, and, had he lived, would be turning 28 on Jan. 1. 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

Two fathers take food to City Plaza Phillips memorial becomes an act of sharing

The “One Year Without Justice for Desmond Phillips” gathering at the Chico Women’s Club on March 17 had dozens of hamburgers and hot dogs left over that were given out with fellowship and kindness at Chico’s downtown plaza by Scott Rushing and David Phillips, whose sons were both killed in shootings that involved Chico police officers.

Tyler Rushing was killed in July, 2017, after being shot by a security guard and police, and Desmond Phillips was killed by Chico police one year ago. video feature by Guillermo Mash read more

Desmond’s dad: Meeting set with AG Civil rights attorney reached out to Xavier Becerra

photo courtesy of the Phillips family

by Dave Waddell

A prominent lawyer representing the family of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed March 17 by Chico police, has arranged a face-to-face meeting with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to discuss the shooting, according to David Phillips, Desmond’s father.

The meeting will be held Nov. 9 at the AG’s office in San Francisco and include David Phillips and his attorney, John L. Burris of Oakland, Phillips said.

“Mr. Burris was the one who got the meeting with Xavier Becerra,” David Phillips told ChicoSol this week. “The purpose is to present our evidence … to have those officers fired and brought up on murder charges.” read more