CA Attorney General Investigating Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a civil rights investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. The investigation follows reports of excessive force by deputies, as well as growing concerns over the high in-custody death rate. Bonta's office will examine policing practices and the situation inside county jails.
The year 2022 was the deadliest in two decades for Riverside County jail inmates, Bonta said. The prior year, Bonta received a letter from the ACLU of Southern California and a group of community organizations urging his office to investigate "racist policing practices" and "rampant patrol and jail deaths" in Riverside.
Since taking office in 2021, Bonta has opened investigations into a number of law enforcement agencies accused of excessive force or other misconduct. These include the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the Torrance Police Department. A similar probe of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office was launched by Bonta’s predecessor Xavier Beccera.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released a video statement blasting the latest probe as “a waste of time and resources.”
"This investigation is based on nothing but false and misleading statements and straight-out lies from activists, including their attorneys," Bianco said. Nevertheless, he added, “we have absolutely nothing to hide, and we'll be more than cooperative and accommodating with this investigation."