On Friday, the ACLU filed a federal complaint alleging that Riverside County misused millions in coronavirus CARES funding by giving that money to the Sheriff's Department.
The Sheriff's Dept. used $2.7 million for furniture and other office renovations, another $1.3 million to upgrade its key card/video camera systems, and another $660,000 to bulletproof its windows.
Sheriff's officials previously told county supervisors that the use of funding had been reviewed and approved by the CARES committee.
The ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Riverside All of Us or None, and Starting Over Inc submitted complaints to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
“CARES Act funds are intended to support community members struggling with the economic and health impacts of the pandemic,” said ACLU SoCal Senior Staff Attorney Adrienna Wong. “Redirecting those funds to pad law enforcement budgets hampers recovery efforts, disregards the suffering in our communities and, in this case, violates the law.”
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco wrote a statement in response to our inquires regarding the ACLU's complaint:
"The fact that only extremely liberal media outlets have inquired about the ACLU’s complaint says all that needs to be said. Three completely anti law enforcement, anti Sheriff’s Department in particular, organizations have made more frivolous complaints and are counting on anti law enforcement media to fuel their demands for social justice. The County of Riverside had an exhausting process for distribution of Cares Act funding and I am extremely confident the process ensured the county operated within federal government guidelines. This frivolous, misleading, and misinformed complaint should be seen by the pubic for exactly what it is: Anti law enforcement rhetoric and a complete waste of everyone’s time. "
News Channel 3's Peter Daut spoke with Adrienna Wong to find out more about those complaints.