SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in a press release Wednesday he is opening a civil rights investigation into the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation will look to determine if the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct in regards to jail conditions, resistance to oversight, and other misconduct.
With regard to this investigation, Bonta has yet to determine any specific complaints towards particular individuals within the SCCSO or any of the agency’s policies, the release said.
“There’s allegations of a scheme to trade gun permits for political contributions that’s as yet unproved,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “There are allegations of failure to report gifts received by the sheriff. That’s under investigation by the fair political practices commissions.”
Simitian says he’s glad the attorney general is getting involved.
Simitian called on Bonta to look into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s alleged misconduct five months ago when supervisors voted no confidence in the sheriff.
Since that time, the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury has filed formal accusations against the sheriff for corruption.
“Public safety is built on trust,” Bonta said. “When communities feel they are treated fairly and equitably by law enforcement, it increases trust, and that in turn contributes to increased public safety. However, it is clear that there is a lack of trust in Santa Clara County as a result of deeply concerning allegations.”
Since taking over as attorney general in 2021, Bonta has looked to hold other law enforcement agencies across the state accountable.
Most recently last month, Bonta launched an independent review of the Torrance Police Department.
The department was looked into allegations of racism, use of excessive force, and other misconduct.
“Bonta is committed to strengthening trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve as one key part of the broader effort to increase public safety for all Californians,” the press release said.
No timeline as to how long this investigation will take.