RIVERSIDE – Even before officially being sworn in as Riverside County Sheriff on Tuesday, one of Chad Bianco’s first official acts was to place openly gay Capt. David Kurylowicz, on paid administrative leave.
In the days and weeks leading up to the election face-off between Sheriff Stan Sniff and Bianco, Kurylowicz accused Bianco of making homophobic statements. Bianco has consistently denied making any such remarks.
Kurylowicz has not publicly offered any proof of the alleged homophobic statements.
Kurylowicz has been removed as commander of the Moreno Valley station and Lt. Dave Lelevier has stepped in to take Kurylowicz’s place, according to well-placed sources. Calls to the Sheriff’s Department were not immediately returned.
The move comes as Bianco is already under scrutiny for his perceived attitude toward the LGBTQ community. Much of the angst stems from a 10-page questionnaire Bianco completed in September —and signed — for the Temecula-Murrieta Republican Assembly. One law enforcement official said at the time it paints a “quite damning” picture.
The questionnaire touches on conversion therapy for homosexuals and what constitutes a civil marriage.
Here is a snapshot of the questionnaire Uken Report obtained and some of Bianco’s responses.
Kurylowicz, who vigorously supported Sniff for re-election in November, did not respond to two requests from Uken Report for comment for this story.
There is an audio trail of exchanges, accusations, rebuttals.
In February 2018, Kurylowicz and Bianco argued audibly about whether Kurylowicz had tried to persuade the Police Officers Research Association of California, which claims to represent the interests of 70,000 officers in the state, not to endorse Bianco.
In an audio recording posted on the blog Right on Daily, you can hear Kurylowicz protest that Bianco calls him a liar.
“I’m not calling you a liar but I’m telling you that I won’t believe anything you say,” Bianco says.
Kurylowicz retorts: “You say you’re a man of integrity; prove it.”
On Sept. 20, Kurylowicz spoke during the public comment period at the Palm Springs City Council meeting. Some questioned why he spoke to the Palm Springs City Council instead of to his own local City Council. The City Palm Springs Council is entirely LGBTQ and has been recognized in Sacramento for that accomplishment.
“I happen to be the target of a very vicious and vile attack by a candidate who is applying for the top police position for our county,” Kurylowicz said. “I am concerned for my community. As a gay man, I’ve faced ridicule and public humiliation by the Bianco campaign for my lifestyle. My husband has also faced similar troubles.
With his voice quivering, Kurylowicz added, “If this person is willing to do this to me — a veteran police officer for 26 years — I’m worried about what is going to happen with my community. It is real, and it is happening to me.”
You may watch it here.
Kurylowicz did not provide any specific statements from Bianco to the City Council to support his claim, Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Roberts said in an interview with television station KMIR (NBC Palm Springs).
Kurylowicz told KMIR that he considered himself a victim of cyberbullying.
Listen for yourself.
Bianco, in an interview with KMIR in September, said one of his brothers is gay and that he would never make homophobic statements. Bianco accused Sniff’s campaign of being behind Kurylowicz’s statements and added that his own campaign had no connection to Right On Daily, which supported Bianco.
“The current sheriff has absolutely nothing to stand on, so this is where we’re going to take this campaign. Not about how we’re going to better the community, not about how we’re going to better the department. Let’s say Chad is a homophobe … let’s just make it up,” Bianco told KMIR.
Alan Carvalho, an openly gay man from Cathedral City, said on Facebook on Wednesday that, “Bianco has serious issues with the LGBT community! I was shocked to see him marching in the gay pride parade last November! This deserves further investigation!”
His response stemmed from an opinion piece on Uken Report.
On Wednesday, Jan. 9, Tom Freeman, who currently serves as the Chief of Public Policy for Riverside County Supervisor V. Manual Perez, wrote an opinion piece for Uken Report. In it, he wrote, “Let’s give newly elected Sheriff Bianco our support and offer best wishes for leading his department and the dedicated men and women who serve us all.”
You may read Freeman’s entire opinion here.
The response was swift from some corners of the Coachella Valley.
“Hummmmm…no,” Tim Tourtellott wrote on Facebook. “The LGBTQ will be watching.”
Steve Berger wrote, “What has he done to earn it?”
Sniff did not return a request for comment.
- David Kurylowicz: Riverside County Sheriff's Department