By Zach Reynosa
Neglect, distrust and missuse of power is actively killing our working class.
Twelve people died in custody at the Riverside County jail this year.
A press conference was held by Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco to address the situation after being confronted for downplaying the alarming occurences of deaths.
Bianco alleged five of the convicts were killed from fentanyl overdoses, two by suicide, three by medical complications with two deaths still pending.
This is a constant problem for the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. However, this year exceptionally stands out as an anomaly.
“We did nothing wrong,” Bianco said.
The department constantly fails to inform loved ones on how the inmates died even though it is protocol. Some deaths were never even acknowledged until later discovered by the families or the public.
The working class invariably falls victim to unacceptable mismanagement masked as “accidents” by those who are supposed to “protect and serve” them.
There are thousands of cases of excessive use of force from numerous precincts across the country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of federal prisoners who have died in custody is increasing incrementally each year.
The unapologetic brutality and injustice of the sheriff’s department as well as the police force destroys an individual’s trust for an establishment supposedly meant to keep communities safe.
To find something good to say about the police is like finding a strand of hay in a pile of needles. Frankly, they don’t deserve the praise they receive at all. Countless times do we see the police defend themselves and only themselves.
Bianco has a track record that is consistent with that belief. He has openly threatened to arrest public officials including Ward 2 Riverside City Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes.
In this specific instance, Cervantes was the victim of an alleged smear campaign in support of abortion access. Bianco made it clear that she was “lucky” to not have been arrested.
If the local sheriff actually cared for his community, why can’t he explain the $77 million of taxpayer money that was used to pay for police misconduct settlements and lawsuits?
This means that our dollars are being used to pay for the careless “mistakes” of the haphazard actions of these “entrusted” forces.
Perhaps Bianco is being used as a figurehead to take the blame for ruthless misconduct. In other words, he is someone that we can point the finger at and say “hey this man is the source of your fears and woes” so that the true monsters can live in peace. That being your everyday “peace officer.”
Officers constantly harass and displace the homeless by making their way of survival illegal through loitering laws that prevent them from finding shelter.
They are also known to disproportionately target people of color by placing them in jail for false or petty crimes, making it impossible to participate in the electoral process after being released. This sets us back from making necessary progress, because it encourages the silencing of the working class and their ideals.
The disproportionate distribution of taxpayer money has been the key motivator for this behavior.
RPD received a gross amount of money to buy equipment you’d only find in a war-torn battlefield for the sake of militarization of the police.
Neglecting investments toward the Community and Economic Development Department (CEDD) which funds programs that would improve the standard of living and prevent people from turning to a life of crime in order to survive.
The CEDD received the lowest amount of funding out of any other department, while the sheriff’s department got a whopping $73 million.
Clearly, the city has prioritized Riverside law enforcement who have proven time and time again their agenda, showing the police defend themselves and only themselves.
This deep-rooted systemic problem cannot be changed through individual participation. It requires a collective force to use any means necessary in order to get the message across.
The police force and sheriffs must be investigated, defunded and reorganized to further prevent any more loss of life and civil liberties of the working class. Only then might we live in true peace.