Rushing shooting under review by state AG Two Chico police killings in 2017 focus of inquiries

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.

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

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.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey has absolved criminally the officers involved in the shootings. The AG’s review of the Phillips shooting began in “June or July,” Ramsey said.

The letter to Scott Rushing, dated Feb. 20, was signed for Becerra by Michael Canzoneri, supervising deputy attorney general.

“At your request, the Office of the Attorney General has officially opened a review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the officer-involved shooting and ultimate death of your son, Tyler,” says Canzoneri’s letter. “We are aware that the District Attorney for Butte County has already completed his review of the evidence and concluded no criminal charges should be filed against the officers involved. We have advised the District Attorney that we will be reviewing the evidence (that) was presented and his decision to not file charges. We have already requested, and anticipate receiving, the reports and digital evidence shortly.”

In a telephone interview with ChicoSol, Scott Rushing said “it’s just got to be extraordinary” for the AG to probe two shootings within four months involving the same police department.

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Paula and Scott Rushing, Tyler’s parents.

“There must be something in the investigation of the two cases that has caught the attention of the attorney general,” Rushing said. “It’s just got to be rare that they would take a look at two officer-involved shootings in such a rural county. They just can’t willy-nilly investigate every request.”

In a follow-up email to ChicoSol, Rushing added: “We strongly feel an independent review of the evidence, away from the influence of the DA, will lead to the truth being told. I have always asked for the ‘unvarnished truth’ and my position has not changed. … Two Chico SWAT killings are now being reviewed: The killing of Desmond Phillips and the killing of Tyler. The family and friends of Desmond and Tyler have faith that these two investigations … will provide the transparency that has been absent in the Ramsey reports.”

David Phillips did not reply to messages to him seeking comment.

The AG’s press office issued its boilerplate “to protect their integrity we can’t comment on ongoing investigations.”

Ramsey said the AG’s office has the ability to review any case it wishes, but it happens only “occasionally.”

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey

“They asked for me to send everything that we have (on the two cases), and I have done so,” Ramsey said. “Occasionally, someone (from the AG’s office) asks for some information, and that’s the last we hear of it.”

Chico State Professor Michael Coyle, an outspoken critic of the criminal justice system, when asked via email for his response to the multiple AG shooting reviews, replied: “I am of course delighted that the murder of any citizen by any agent of the state is under careful and serious investigation and review. The question I have is why in the second decade of the 21st century do we continue to support ‘wild west’ policy of state agents walking around shooting people – not to mention the mentally ill.”

Dave Waddell is news director at ChicoSol.

8 thoughts on “Rushing shooting under review by state AG Two Chico police killings in 2017 focus of inquiries

    1. I sincerely hope that this investigation also includes a serious look into District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s past history, and not only recent history! Additional Corruption may be exposed in his investigations and summary judgements. I feel your review will reveal the full truths in these and potentially more cases involving this D.A. Thank You, David Waddell for your investigative reporting! Thank You, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Michael Canzoneri and your staff for your time and concerns in reviewing this D.A.

  1. For someone coming to this story for the first time, it would be helpful to know the reported circumstances that led to Tyler’s shooting.

  2. I again offer my email to initiate discussion about Tyler.

    The Chico Cop Strangler Case, retired sergeant Scott Alan Ruppel, is scheduled to be heard in Oroville 4.4.18 at 8:30 am I will be there.

    Scott Rushing

  3. I believe the rash of police killings in Butte County is related to the militarization of our police force nationally, how domestic violence is handled and a corrupt county.

    Right now I am suffering a malicious prosecution brought forth by a mentally ill woman receiving services through Butte County Behavioral Health. This woman has robbed me, threw knives at me on recorded 911 calls. She sat in my lap in crisis while I’m on 911 call, dispatcher commenting how calm I am. Me pleading that I am being held against my will. The police did nothing to protect me or help a mentally ill woman. They in fact collaborated with this woman, likely advising her that without injuries she would have a weak case.

    It is no wonder, and I do not use this term lightly, that we have NAZIS serving themselves as police now.

    It has gone way way to far. I’ve been an ER nurse 20 years, in the front lines of domestic violence. I’ve been working nights for 15, I have seen domestic violence requiring medical attention in my 21 years….twice. It is shameful,the industry, the broken families and the abuse by the system all in the false narrative of domestics violence. A militarized police department forced to accept the false construct and lies surrounding domestic violence has led to state sponsored violence against citizens. And now, an entrenched district attorney shines a national spotlight on little Butte County.

    Your way more likely to be killed by the police than domestic violence here in Butte County….the cops are your worst enemy…if you think your life is in danger just wait till the cops arrive!

    Feaster shooting the drunk stumbling out of his car takes the fuckin’ cake! Really? How about rendering care to the victim of an accident?And what threat? Pumped up with a chase fine…but pulling your gun, horseshit Ramsey! And then a few weeks in jail…That one was 2nd only to the Bart murder by police, executing the black kid who was cuffed.

    My heart goes out to all the victims families of those murdered by law enforcement. I too am angry, furious really and can not imagine the feelings of loss and shear rage you must be feeling.

    Study your history, look at what’s happening, love your neighbor, fight for your life and refer to the police as NAZIS because that is who and what they have become.

  4. corruption runs rapid in Butte County.
    DA Ramsey and his posse of deputy DAS and the law enforcement are the biggest criminals of all. People take deals instead of fighting them because they know everyones in Ramseys pocket including the judges. your public defenders wont defend you if yours case proves unethical impeachable proof, and the DA and office falsify or will make it look as if your guilty of a crime when you speak out.
    ps we should all congratulate Deputy DA MATT TAYLOR on his promotion to the attorney generals office, only took destroying my family when he knows we are innocent. ruining lives is nothing new to this COUNTY

  5. Ramsey needs to go. Ramsey is universally disliked throughout this county due to his lack of interpersonal skills and his pompous and dismissive attitude toward just about everyone. He has been in public office for far too many years. Our democracy was not built on the idea of someone holding office for most of their adult life. This can make for biased views and a rigid/non-bending approach to problems and situations. It makes the long-term politician stop paying attention to their constituency, they become too comfortable, thus non-responsive to changes in the law and society. Mike Ramsey is a dinosaur of the past and needs to do the right thing and retire. Unfortunately he won’t due to his extreme ego and crippling narcissism. I only hope that someone will step up during the next election cycle who is competent, has integrity, and who is willing to successfully challenge him.

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