When the FBI released data regarding law enforcement officers killed and assaulted in the line of duty for 2022 on March 8, it appeared to throw cold water on Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco’s over heated rhetoric about why he believed police officers were being killed in the line of duty.
During one of his frequent visits to FOX News in March, Bianco proclaimed, “Criminals have become increasingly more violent and brazen. It’s not just one isolated place. It’s across the country,” he offered not too long after the December 22 shooting death of Riverside County deputy, Isaiah Cordero.
Of course, no one wants to see any officer killed in the line of duty or otherwise, and data released March 8, showed just how much Bianco’s statements were over hyped. Sadly, although sixty officers were feloniously killed in the U.S. in 2022, the good news is, it actually represented a significant decrease of 17.8% from the previous year when 73 officers were killed feloniously.
Additionally, a five-year comparison showed an increase of only three deaths since 2018. Where a 10 year view on the other hand, shows a more significant increase of 33 deaths when compared to 2013.
Obviously, Bianco must have been unaware of the five year downward trend–when he’s on FOX News, it seems his glass is always half empty, so it was understandably predictable–though disingenuous– that he would blame a ten year comparison increase in police shootings on what he called, [laws that] “decriminalize everything” as well as lower penalties for some offenses. He also criticized politicians who he claimed, “ridicule police.” According to Bianco, this results in criminals being more “emboldened”.
Regardless of Bianco’s proclamations, the excessive use-of-force by police officers too often leads to bad outcomes, sometimes resulting in the injury or death of an officer though more often, resulting in the injury or death of a suspect. And, it was the misuse/overuse of force incidents, that lead to the calls for transparency and disclosure by police.
Meanwhile, Bianco blames use-of-force incidents entirely on the suspects, claiming, “[I]t’s solely because of the resistance from the people that we’re trying to arrest.”
With the Riverside Sheriff’s Department having a leader like Bianco with this mindset, it is no wonder, as he explained in his own words, “Our police and our deputies are far more likely to be involved in use of force situations,” he said on Fox, comparing such incidents to when he was a deputy. It’s almost as if he was providing his deputies with an “excuse in advance” of future incidents.
With this in mind, is it any wonder that police shootings rose sharply in Riverside County in 2021. And in 2022, one of the 25 cases statewide being investigated by the California Department of Justice involving law enforcement officers who shot and killed an unarmed person, involved Riverside County.
We know now, however, that Riverside did not report all such shootings last year as required by AB 1506. Reports allege the Riverside Sheriff’s Department told the CA attorney general that there were at least two shootings not investigated by the state because they were probably not reported in the manner required by AB 1506.
Under AB1506, signed into law on September 30, 2020 and that took effect July 1, 2021, whenever someone considered unarmed, is shot by law enforcement the department is mandated to report it to the CA Department of Justice for review.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is currently under a Civil Rights pattern or practice investigation by the CA attorney general. Bianco’s attitude, rhetoric and actions in this regard, remind us once again why such an investigation is warranted.
Of course this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.