Reformers want outside probe into police killing Stephen Vest slipped through the cracks, observers say

photo courtesy of Lisa Currier
Stephen Vest as a youngster in Paradise.

by Dave Waddell and Leslie Layton

Chico police reform advocates are questioning the independence of the investigation underway into the killing of Stephen Vest, who was shot Oct. 14 by an officer and his sergeant after Vest’s behavior frightened motorists and passersby.

Reform advocates want a state investigation into the killing outside the local Petco store. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey insists his system for investigating police shootings ensures impartiality and falls within the purview of his position. 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