Chico Student Has No Phone After Filming Police With it

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If Chico police officer Steve Dyke’s intent last summer was to get Madeline Hemphill to quit filming police with her cell phone, that mission definitely was accomplished.

One reason is practical: Hemphill no longer has her cell phone. Police claim it was lost when they arrested her in the early hours of Aug. 27, 2016, and accused her of resisting arrest. No charges, however, were ever brought against Hemphill by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

In a ChicoSol exclusive, Ramsey said Friday that his 10-month investigation into what became of the phone determined that police never had it. Most likely, Ramsey said, the phone was carried around town by a “transient.” The DA promised more details this week.

“I find it interesting that I am completely out of the loop with all of this,” Hemphill said when informed by ChicoSol of Ramsey’s ruling. “The DA wants absolutely nothing to do with me. I don’t believe that a transient took my phone, nor do I believe that the DA’s investigation was unbiased. We all know whose team they’re playing for.”

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photo by Bianca Quilantan
Madeline Hemphill demonstrates the grip that the students say officer Dyke used on Nicole Braham.

Besides not having a phone, a second reason Hemphill isn’t filming cops on the street is psychological: Her treatment by the Chico Police Department has left her afraid of law enforcement officers, she said.

Hemphill was once confident about her right to videotape officers in public, believing that doing so served as a societal check on abuse of police power. Today, Hemphill says she’s afraid to even look a police officer in the eye, let alone film one.

Hemphill’s fear stems from being “tackled” by police after Dyke ordered her taken to jail while she was filming him arresting her roommate, Nicole Braham, also a Chico State student. The case gained notoriety after a video shot by a third roommate went viral. Misdemeanor resisting arrest charges against Braham are pending in Butte County Superior Court. (The incident can be read about in this ChicoSol story.)

Read more here.