Supervisor Perez, once a staunch supporter of Chad Bianco, now denounces Sheriff Bianco

PALM DESERT – There was a time three short years ago,  when Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez sung the praises of then-Lieutenant Chad Bianco. Today, Perez condemns Sheriff Bianco for his short-term ties to the Oathkeepers Group.

In 2018, even though Democrats outnumbered Republicans in Riverside County, the sheriff’s race pitted incumbent Republican Stan Sniff against department Lt. Chad Bianco, also a Republican. Both are campaigned on platforms that were by most accounts out of step with the state Democratic Party. So, Democrats turned to Perez, one of the most powerful Democrats in the County, for advice on the better candidate.

In an Oct. 28, 2018, news release Paid for by Supporters of Chad Bianco for Sheriff-Coroner 2022, Perez said, “Chad has the right ideas to implement community oriented policing policies,” said Supervisor Manuel Perez. “I support Chad in his run for Sheriff and look forward to implementing a new approach to public safety.”

On Wednesday, in light of the news that in 2014 Bianco paid membership dues to the Oathkeepers, Perez denounced the first-term sheriff.

“Like many of you, I am shocked and deeply troubled to hear that Sheriff Bianco was a member of the Oathkeepers Group,” Perez said in a prepared statement. “After further research, I learned that the organization is a far right, anti-government militia based on extremist racist views. I do not support the Oath Keepers. Furthermore, I do not support their belief that, as armed individuals, only they can defend and uphold the Constitution.

Bianco told the laist that the Oath Keepers is not a threat to democracy. “Except for a few fringe people, that’s not really what they stand for,” he said in an interview with LAist on Monday. “They certainly don’t promote violence and government overthrow. They stand for protecting the Constitution.”

According to their website, Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Oath Keepers “one of the largest far-right anti-government groups in the U.S. today.” George Washington University’s Program on Extremism describes the group as a “domestic violent extremist organization.”

“Our communities want government and law enforcement to protect our residents, and to govern and police our communities without extremist views, Perez continued. “We are a very diverse county that appreciates equality, equity and tolerance. We live in a county that is made up of demographics that include a white population that consists of 41.2 percent and a Latino population of 49.7 percent. Riverside County is 6 percent Black, 7 percent Asian, and significantly more multiracial than ever before. We are also a county that is 40 percent Democratic, 32 percent Republican, and 21 percent No Party Preference. That is what makes our county special. That we are diverse.”

Perez, unlike Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege, did not call for Bianco to resign.

“I’ve said this before, I couldn’t care less what she says,” Bianco told Uken Report of Holstege’s resignation request, “She swore the same oath I did.  I am not a member of Oath Keepers.  I have condemned what those did when they forced their way into the Capital building.  They deserve everything coming to them.

“I think it’s unfortunately politics as usual with quite a bit of hypocrisy.  They want to somehow say I’m responsible (for) — or participated in — Jan 6,” Bianco said. “I have spoken against what happened as all law enforcement should. 2014 is not 2021.”

In its August indictment charging 17 Oath Keepers with conspiracy in connection with Jan. 6, the U.S. Department of Justice said some of the group’s members “are associated with militias” and some believe the U.S. government “has been co-opted by a cabal of elites actively trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”

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  • Supervisor V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez