CA Attorney General opens investigation into Riverside County Sheriff’s Office

Robert J Hansen
California Attorney General Rob Bonta in Riverside County in 2021.Photo by(Office of the Attorney General)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta opened a civil rights investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) last week concerning allegations relating to conditions of confinement in its jail facilities, excessive force, and other misconduct.

“All Californians deserve fairness and respect from the institutions that serve them,” said Attorney General Bonta. “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,” Bonta said in a press release.

“As part of my office’s ongoing efforts to support constitutional policing, the California Department of Justice is opening a civil rights investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. 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.”

The AG has not made any determinations at this time about specific complaints, allegations, or RCSO’s  overall practices.

Last year, the AG assumed responsibility for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation related to contracts awarded to a local nonprofit.

He worked with authorities in San Francisco to help ensure the continuation of local oversight efforts related to officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and severe uses of force.

Attorney General Bonta also opened a pattern or practice investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in 2022. In 2021, the Attorney General launched an independent review of the Torrance Police Department and secured a stipulated judgment against the Bakersfield Police Department requiring an extensive range of actions to promote public safety.

Attorney General Bonta also established the Racial Justice Bureau within the Civil Rights Enforcement Section to, among other things, help address issues of implicit and explicit bias in policing.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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