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

“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

Homeless evictions continue in southeast Chico Chico police block media from watching; upset citizens decry policy

photo by Karen Laslo
An officer tells a homeless woman at Humboldt and Forest to be out by evening on Feb. 16 as she stares into a small mirror.

by Leslie Layton

Chico Police Department today blocked the media from Boucher Street as officers informed homeless people camping there and at Forest and Humboldt streets that they had to move.

Unhoused people at both sites had been given 72-hour eviction notices that had expired. And as the rain ceased and the sun broke through today, police moved in on the encampments.

At Boucher and Wisconsin streets, community members offered to help campers load tents and possessions into trucks and move them if they had someplace to go. A few people chose to move to beneath the Highway 99 overpass in lower Bidwell Park. But with no shelter space available in the city, many didn’t know what to do. read more

Citizen group unveils Chico PD reform steps Calls for police culture in which ‘all Chicoans feel safe’

photo by Karen Laslo
CC4J Coordinator Emily Alma explains an eight-step police reform proposal.

by Dave Waddell

Akin to this year’s killing of George Floyd nationally, the gunning down of Desmond Phillips by Chico police in 2017 outraged and galvanized a community. That local movement came together last week to unveil what is called a plan for transforming policing in Chico.

The eight-step proposal for reform of the Chico Police Department includes calls for greater community oversight of the police and better use of de-escalation strategies in mental health and other crises, among other priorities. Emily Alma, coordinator of Concerned Citizens for Justice (CC4J), spoke Thursday (Sept. 24) of the group’s aims, standing in front of the sculpture of hands outside City Hall and while flanked by a couple dozen supporters. read more