Desmond’s killers told inconsistent stories DA's interview dubbed incompetent by cop expert

Desmond Phillips was killed by police on March 17, 2017.

by Dave Waddell

Two young Chico police officers, on the night in 2017 they gunned Desmond Phillips down, told conflicting stories to investigators about what Phillips was doing in the seconds before he was slain.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, apparently uncomfortable with those discrepancies, brought Desmond’s killers together nearly three weeks later for a group re-interview that “no competent investigator” would have conducted, says Seth Stoughton, a former detective and nationally recognized expert on police practices. read more

Tyler Rushing in grasp of deputy when shot by cop New videos reveal details kept secret by DA Ramsey

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

(Ed. note: This is part II in a three-part series on investigative video that was obtained through Public Records Act requests and with the help of the writer’s attorney. Read part I here.)

A Butte County sheriff’s deputy had both his hands on the flailing, severely wounded Tyler Rushing and was about to “sweep” him to the floor when Chico police Sgt. Scott Ruppel rushed forward and shot Rushing twice at nearly point blank range.

That’s one of the interesting details that emerge in newly released video related to the July 23, 2017, killing of Rushing on the site of a downtown business. read more

Videos withheld from Rushing family in suit? Young K9 deputy, not Chico PD brass, devised fatal siege

photo courtesy of Rushing family

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell

Billy Aldridge, now second in command at the Chico Police Department, seems to have stood on the sidelines four years ago while underlings rammed into a downtown restroom and, 42 seconds later, shot Tyler Rushing to his death.

Aldridge, then a lieutenant and now Chico’s police commander, became vocal after the shooting, ordering several officers who witnessed the incident to quit talkin and directing another to turn off his body-worn camera.

Those details and numerous other facts not previously disclosed by authorities are coming to light following the release to this reporter — under threat of a lawsuit — of videotaped officer interviews. However, both Chico Police Chief Matt Madden and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey have refused to release reams of investigative reports about the Rushing case, as well as about other recent officer-involved killings by Chico PD, including the deaths of Desmond Phillips in 2017 and Stephen Vest in 2020. read more

Vigil honors those killed by law enforcement "Say Their Name," on Memorial Day anniversary killing of George Floyd, draws dozens

photo by Leslie Layton
Chicoan Char Prieto participated in the Memorial Day vigil.

by Leslie Layton

Sometimes change happens quietly, and sometimes there is a quiet — almost imperceptible –shift in consciousness on a social issue that surprises.

A vigil held on this Memorial Day to remember people killed by law enforcement officers and encourage police reform was organized around the belief that messages can sometimes be heard best when people are quietest. About 50 people gathered for the “Say Their Name” vigil organized by Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J) at the Bidwell Park One Mile. read more

Force expert: ‘Contagious fire’ in Moulton killing? DA, sheriff secretive about 2019 shooting by nine Butte deputies

photo courtesy of family
Richard Moulton and Jax.

by Dave Waddell

Nine Butte County sheriff’s deputies, a majority of them armed with assault rifles, fired a total of 63 rounds two years ago at Richard Moulton, a 52-year-old Red Bluff businessman, killing him.

Recently, Seth Stoughton, a use-of-force expert who testified at the trial of George Floyd’s police killer, expressed concern about what seems to have been “contagious fire” from multiple deputies in the killing.

Stoughton said he found the Moulton shooting generally justified and that 63 shots “doesn’t strike me as an absurd amount” given that nine officers were pulling triggers. “I’m not surprised that officers shot him if he pointed the weapon at [them], especially if they knew he had shot at his estranged wife earlier,” Stoughton said. read more

“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