Seemingly since its conception, there has been varying discourse related to law enforcement in this country. Distrust filters down to every rung on the ladder, including Riverside County’s own law department office. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has been accused of violating civil rights in practice. This past year, the county saw a significant rise of deaths in the county’s jails along with allegations of excessive force and other misconduct. 

According to The Desert Sun, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that investigators will look into whether Sheriff Chad Bianco’s department has exhibited any misconduct or any repetitive patterns of unconstitutional behavior. Bianco himself has attempted to steer the image of his department by saying that the investigation is based on “nothing but false misleading statements, and straight-out lies from activists, including attorneys.” Biano has targeted activists and attorneys for the alleged misinformation. 

There are several incidents around the country that highlight police abuse against prisoners and civilians. It is implausible that Riverside County’s department could be guilty of misconduct. The Desert Sun reported that “20 inmates have died in the county’s jails since January 2022.” This is the most deaths that the county has seen in over a decade. A sudden spike in deaths raises questions as to why there’s been such a steep climb in numbers. 

The Riverside County Sheriff Department is, at the very least, overlooking what is happening within their department. This rise in deaths is genuinely concerning and the documented allegations of misconduct and abuse of power are strong indicators that the department is guilty of doing something wrong. 

The statement from the Sheriff himself, blaming lawyers and activists, raises even more suspicion. Although the department has offered to be fully cooperative, whether that promise will actually be fulfilled remains questionable. If the department is found guilty of misconduct, Sheriff Bianco, who has faced other criticisms in this role,  and any other individuals involved should be removed from their positions.