Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by BVN
S.E. Williams |
“The following is video in response to a DOJ investigation based on frivolous complaints and accusations surrounding jail deaths in Riverside County,” reads the opening screen of Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco’s Instagram post in response to the announcement by CA Attorney General Rob Bonta on Thursday, February 23, 2023, declaring that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is being subjected to a patterns and practices Civil Rights investigation beginning immediately.
“This announcement comes as a shock,” claimed Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco as the Instagram post begins.
Really, Chad? After all of the claims and accusations throughout 2022, and before, and continuing into 2023, on a laundry list of grievances that you were too obstinate and unyielding to even consider, even though many were warranted concerns expressed by large swaths of the community?
In Bianco’s estimation, it was clear he did not perceive any of the concerns raised by constituents as worthy of even feigned consideration. And yet, the numbers tell the story. Minorities are being disproportionately arrested/charged for crimes in the county, use of force remains an issue, in custody deaths are on the rise, under his stewardship the Department was taken to task for failing to protect those in custody during COVID-19, he allegedly promoted his brother over candidates with more qualifications, etc.
The list of grievances against the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) under Bianco’s leadership are as long as his arrogance and ignorance.
As Bonta noted, the investigation “will seek to determine whether RCSD has engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing amid deeply concerning allegations relating to conditions of confinement in its jail facilities, excessive force, and other misconduct.”
Bianco believes it is all a witch hunt. Well, we will see. I think in his hubris he underestimated what can happen when a determined population bands together in pursuit of justice.
Bianco continues to believe his own hype regarding his reelection in a non-presidential year, gloating in his victory as if it resulted from some brilliant campaign strategy propelled by a delusion that it was an overwhelming vote of confidence from the community. This assessment, of course, is a result of his small mindedness in combination with his over inflated ego.
It does not take a political genius to know that the election results actually evolved from a perverse coalition of historical low voter turnouts in non-presidential election cycles, combined with the electoral benefits of incumbency and the strong financial backing of police unions. This is what ensured his reelection. Bianco obviously took his victory as a green light to maintain his dismissive attitude toward the growing concerns of the community.
Now, rather than being humbled and humiliated by the prospect of being investigated and potentially taken to task for his failures, he remains arrogant and defiant.
In responding to the announcement by Bonta, Bianco admitted he was surprised. How could he be with all of the concerns brought to his attention by individuals, nonprofits and the press?
Surprised? That certainly says a lot about his perception. Humbled? Not at all. In his response/rebuttal to Bonta he was accusatory and defiant claiming that Bonta “cares more about politics than he does about transparency and the truth.”
That is laughable coming from Bianco. After all, what organization could be more opaque than the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department?
When announcing the investigation, Bonta stressed how “[I]nteraction and cooperation with the community is at the core of law enforcement’s work to provide public safety and create public trust.”
Bianco, on the other hand, claims the accusations are based on “false and misleading statements and straight out lies from activists and others, including their attorneys.” He gives the impression that the investigation is a trumped up inconvenience and he will be vindicated of any wrong doings. Most of us disagree and, certainly, time will tell.
In the meantime, Bonta encourages anyone with information relevant to this investigation to contact the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section at Police-Practices@doj.ca.gov.
The community has pressed for this investigation and the AG has responded. If you have information on misdeeds by members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, I encourage you to reach out to the AG’s office at the link provided above.
I have never made it a secret that I do not believe Bianco is suited for the job of Sheriff. I trust this investigation will detail the undeniable reality of those failures.
View Attorney General Rob Bonta’s announcement of the investigation here.
View Bianco’s Instagram response to AG Bonta here.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.