By Caleigh Carlisle
LOS ANGELES, CA – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced this week the opening an investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office to determine if the office participated in a “pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing” after allegations have been made regarding conditions of confinement in its jail facilities, the use of excessive force and other misconduct.
According to the AG Office statement, a “pattern or practice investigation typically works to identify and, as appropriate, compel the correction of systemic violations of the constitutional rights of the community by a law enforcement agency.”
“All Californians deserve fairness and respect from the institutions that serve them,” said AG Bonta regarding the RCSO investigation, adding. “When some communities don’t see or feel they are being treated equitably by law enforcement, it contributes to distrust and hurts public safety.
“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,” the attorney general continued.
AG Bonta has previously opened several similar investigations into sheriff’s offices around the state. In Jan. 2022, he opened a pattern or practice investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. In Dec. 2021, the Attorney General launched an independent review of the Torrance Police Department amid allegations of racist text messages and the use of excessive force.
In early 2021, Bonta established the Racial Justice Bureau within the Civil Rights Enforcement Section to guide law enforcement in safer practices, address issues of implicit and explicit bias in policing, and educate communities on hate crime prevention and reporting.
“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,” AG Bonta stated.