Riverside officials demand sheriff apologize for accusing council member of supporting vandalism

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Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco recently took to Facebook to chastise a group of abortion rights protesters for defacing the county courthouse with green paint. He also claimed that City Councilwoman Clarissa Cervantes supported the vandalism, saying, “You are lucky we couldn’t arrest you.”

City officials and residents on Tuesday asked Bianco to apologize, calling his comments harmful. Cervantes said her council office has received a large volume of critical phone calls and that she’s received threats on social media.

“It’s been extremely challenging to process that our sheriff would not only do this to an elected official, but to a person, without offering any evidence or proof,” Cervantes told The Times.

Bianco took office in 2019 and acknowledged that in 2014 he was once a paying member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right, anti-government group whose ranks participated in the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. The information was part of a data leak that revealed the group’s donor list, and Bianco claimed that he did not renew his membership.

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