The tracks of our tears Attending 'Memorial for the Fallen' for victims of police killings

photo by Karen Laslo
At left, Gabriel Sanchez is now 17 and was only 10 when his father, Eddie Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Sanchez, was killed by Chico police. At right is Gabe Sanchez’s stepmother, Sheryl Sanchez.

by George Gold
guest commentary July 24

While this great Smokey Robinson song isn’t directly related to the event held yesterday honoring some of the precious lives lost at the hands of the Chico Police Department, there were tears in the room as we listened to the parents, uncles, brothers and sisters tell stories of people who should be alive today.

If we could just get our police to grow some humanity and some skills in how to de-escalate difficult interactions between police and our neighbors, we might see some progress. read more

Saturday event recalls people killed by police Memorial brings 7 families together on fifth anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death

Paula Rushing with her late son Tyler

by Dave Waddell
posted July 21

The year was 1976 and Paula Staben from Santa Paula was a senior child development major at Chico State. She lived off campus at Gordon Hall, an “all-girls dormitory.” As that year’s activities director for Alpha Chi, Paula frequented the sorority’s distinctive yellow house at the corner of Fourth and Orient streets. There, she coordinated events such as theme dinners and movie nights.

Paula completed her bachelor’s degree, returned to Ventura County, and married Scott Rushing, a real estate broker and property manager. She became mom to Tyler and, a couple of years later, to Hillary. She directed a preschool. She launched a 17-year public school teaching career after her children went off to school. read more

Waddell honored with Freedom of Information Award SPJ NorCal comments on ChicoSol stories

photo courtesy of Jason Halley
Dave Waddell

by Leslie Layton
posted March 16

ChicoSol contributor Dave Waddell was honored today – on Freedom of Information Day – as a “transparency champion” for work that accessed public records related to three killings involving the Chico Police Department.

Waddell received the Freedom of Information Award in the small Print and Digital division for ChicoSol stories on the killings of Desmond Phillips, Tyler Rushing and Stephen Vest. The 37th annual James Madison Freedom of Information competition awards were presented today by the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California (SPJ) chapter. read more

City of Chico takes case to Supreme Court Justices asked to nix trial over Tyler Rushing's Tasing

by Dave Waddell

The City of Chico has escalated its increasingly expensive legal fight with the family of Tyler Rushing by petitioning the highest court in the land.

A Southern California law firm last week filed a motion on behalf of the City with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn an appellate court ruling that ordered part of the Rushing family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the City to proceed to trial.

Seth Stoughton, a top expert on police use of force and a professor of law at the University of South Carolina, said in an email reply to questions that the City’s so-called petition for writ of certiorari has a “snowball-in-hell chance” of being granted by the high court. 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

Editor: This is part 1 in a three-part series based on newly released documents.

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 talking and directing another to turn off his body-worn camera. 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