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.
by Dave Waddell
Over Mike Ramsey’s 30-plus-year tenure as Butte County district attorney, outside reviews of his rulings in officer-involved shootings have been, to use his word, “rare.” That dramatically changed in recent months as the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is examining the facts and findings from two deadly Chico Police Department shootings in 2017.
A letter announcing a review of the July 23 shooting of Tyler Rushing has been made available to ChicoSol by his father, Scott Rushing of Ventura.
Earlier, David Phillips, father of Desmond Phillips, who was killed by Chico police last March 17, said he was told by Becerra personally that the AG’s office was investigating his son’s shooting.
by Dave Waddell
The parents of Tyler Rushing, who died after being shot by a private security guard and a Chico police sergeant last summer, have filed a claim against the city for damages in excess of $25,000.
The claim, received by the city Jan. 17, was obtained by ChicoSol through a state Public Records Act request. As of last week, the city had not responded to the claim, said Dani Rogers, deputy city clerk.
Six days after the Rushing filing, on Jan. 23, relatives of Desmond Phillips brought suit against the city in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento for unspecified damages. The lawsuit was filed by the office of prominent civil rights attorney John L. Burris of Oakland. Phillips, a 25-year-old black man in mental crisis, was shot 11 times by two officers on March 17, 2017, in his own living room after his father called for medical aid.
by Dave Waddell
In a year of three deadly officer-involved shootings within five months in Butte County, overall attendance is down markedly among law enforcement personnel in Butte College’s annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) academy.
However, the Chico Police Department, involved in two of those fatal shootings, is sending three officers to the CIT academy, after having almost no presence there in recent years.
The academy, which begins Monday at the Chico Fire Training Center, provides instruction in de-escalation techniques and in dealing with the mentally ill. For its first seven years, the 40-hour training was conducted by Andy Duch, a recently retired Butte County sheriff’s captain. Duch quit the CIT post in protest shortly after Chico police shot and killed Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, in his West Fourth Avenue living room on March 17.
Editor’s Note: ChicoSol asked Diane E. Schmidt, the ranking professor of public administration in the department of political science and criminal justice at Chico State, to comment on the two deadly law enforcement shootings in Butte County that have taken place since the March 17 Chico police shooting of Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man. We have elected to run her response as a guest commentary.
by Diane E. Schmidt
I don’t see these situations as being comparable to Desmond Phillips’ killing. Desmond’s killing violated the sanctity of the home — the trust of the family calling for medical help — and instead they had to endure police officers pepper-spraying the dog, breaking in the door, and shooting the very person who most needed medical intervention. Desmond’s killing was a violation of the public trust, not just a tragic overreach of police power.