“You are lucky we couldn’t arrest you.”
Aimed at Ward 2 Riverside City Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco accused Cervantes of supporting vandalism by protestors to the county courthouse.
Bianco posted his accusation on Facebook, implying that the councilmember had attended the abortion rights protest at the Riverside County Superior Court.
Cervantes responded to the accusations in a press release July 31 stating that she was visiting downtown Riverside. She approached a Riverside Police Department Officer to ask about the protest, thanked him for his work and walked away. She did not participate in the protest that led to the green handprints on the exterior walls of the courthouse.
Fittingly, the known right-wing Riverside County Sheriff and proud former Oath Keeper Chad Bianco accused the openly gay, first-generation Mexican-American councilwoman and incited a social media attack on Cervantes.
Although every individual is entitled to their own opinions, the nature of his statements can not only put a person in the public eye, but can even put family and close friends in a similar situation. Statements like these without proper backing can entice supporters to lash out at the individual and their loved ones.
There has been an outpouring of support for Cervantes despite the “slandering comments and threatening messages through social media” that she has received. Many have called out the Sheriff and demanded that he apologize to Cervantes and retract his statement, though it is very unlikely that will ever happen.
The baseless accusation itself was dangerous.
In a country that prides itself on the motto, “Innocent until proven guilty,” many politicians and government officials prefer to use a ‘shock factor’ to further increase support in their favor despite repercussions.
How often must we witness angry, right-wing conservative lawmakers and enforcers spewing their ideologies on social media and to their respective jurisdictions? We’ve seen the outcome— Jan. 6 at the Capitol, for example.
One thought on “EDITORIAL: Riverside Sheriff falsely accuses Ward 2 Councilmember”
Thank you for this cogent and spot on opinion piece. In this case, Sheriff Bianco’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” not only embarrassed him, it showed his weak character by his refusal to apologize. Shame on you, Sheriff.
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