RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Amid allegations relating to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office jail conditions, excessive force and other misconduct concerns, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Thursday he is opening a civil rights investigation into the agency to determine if it has engaged in unconstitutional policing.
The probe will be aimed at identifying any possible practices violating state or federal law, according to the state Department of Justice.
“When some communities don’t see or feel they are being treated equitably by law enforcement, it contributes to distrust and hurts public safety,” said Attorney General Bonta in a statement. “Unfortunately, it is clear that — amid concerning levels of in-custody deaths and allegations of misconduct — too many families and communities in Riverside County are hurting and looking for answers.”
Bonta said his office has not reached any conclusions or determinations about any specific allegations against the department or its policies. But the state will consider “all relevant information, including from community members and organizations, local officials, oversight entities, RCSO and individual deputies.”
“This announcement comes as a shock, but at the same time, should have been expected from our California DOJ and the attorney general, who cares more about politics than he does about transparency or the truth,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said in response to the investigation. “Mr. Bonta has repeatedly shown he bows and caters to activists instead of hearing from all Californians, who(m) the attorney general is supposed to represent.”
Bianco alleged that activists lied and gave false and misleading statements, saying that the investigation will be a “complete waste of time and resources.” He added that the agency will cooperate in the investigation, as it has nothing to hide.
Bonta urged anyone with relevant information to the investigation to contact the DOJ’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section at police- firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whether you have a loved one in jail or are worried about crime in your neighborhood, we all benefit when there is action to ensure the integrity of policing in our state,” Bonta said in a statement.
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