The family of murdered Palmdale deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer filed a government claim, on Monday, November 27th against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the County of Los Angeles citing forced overtime creating chronic exhaustion which created a known safety hazard with Ryan unable to be cognizant to properly protect himself. The family is seeking $20 million in damages. The claim is the first step before a lawsuit can be filed in state court.
The Current Report broke the story on social media.
The claim was hand delivered to the Palmdale station and the County of Los Angeles stating the following:
“On or about September 16, 2023, Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer exited Palmdale Sheriff Station’s parking lot, drove west on E. Ave. Q, in a marked patrol vehicle. While stopped at a stoplight, Suspect Kevin Salazar, drove alongside Ryan’s driver’s side of the car and through his open window, Salazar shot Deputy Clinkunbroomer in the head, killing him. But the murder could have been prevented, but for the intentional actions of the LACSD and Sheriff Luna’s intentional actions in forcing LASD employees to work such massive overtime (in violation of past MOU’s) that created a known safety hazard, making such a tragedy foreseeable, and preventable but for the defendants actions.
Due to consistent, historic executive mismanagement by the LASD, deputy vacancies average 20% (2,000 deputies). LASD supervisors have mandated Palmdale Station patrol deputies to work overtime. Ryan was forced to work 100 + hours of overtime each month. As a direct and legal result of the intentional actions of the defendants, Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer (like other Palmdale Deputies) was physically and chronically exhausted, suffering from fatigue each month.
Sheriff Luna and the Board of Supervisors knew of the dangers to their employees as a result of intentionally forcing overtime, but intentionally pursued such actions in conscious disregard of the rights and safety of deputies. The result is that the Sheriff’s Department knew or should have known that deputies would be targeted for execution and needed sufficient rest in order to avoid foreseeable tragedies of death. Disregarding the safety of his troops, Sheriff Luna continues to force his deputies work mind-numbing overtime resulting in Ryan’s death and the likely death of other deputies. This Government Claim and subsequent lawsuit seeks justice for the family and to save lives of other deputies.
Other claims include:
The Bane Act, and related civil rights claims under 42 USC section 1983. Wrongful death
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.”
Sheriff Robert Luna was named in the government claim as a “Public employee causing the injury, damage or loss…”.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was shaken to its core with the tragic loss of four LASD past and present personnel in a 24-hour period.
An unprecedented event in the department’s over 150 year history bringing the suicide total at the Sheriff’s Department to nine this year.
The wife of the fourth victim, found on Tuesday, November 7th, allegedly confronted Luna and Chief of Custody Division, Sergio Aloma, at the hospital blaming the demands of an under supported and understaffed department for her husband’s death.
The Department is currently down approximately 1400 officers forcing current personnel to work mandatory overtime shifts.
Two of the four suicide victims worked custody where personnel is mandated 8 overtime spots per month which amounts to two shifts per week, per person on top of their 40 hour shifts and commute time.
Besides being dangerous for line personnel, it is also a sizable waste of county funds, in that personnel are required to be paid time and a half for the overtime worked. In custody alone, the annual overtime cost is in the millions of dollars.
Under former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, overtime restriction was lifted from 96 to 120 hours per calendar month and has not changed under the new administration.
Current department policy states personnel shall not work more than 12 days straight. However, sources say even that restriction is cast aside due to current suffocating requirements for personnel to work more overtime than what is practical.
A department member sent this eye-opening letter to The Current Report detailing the mental health crisis that exists at the LASD and the lack of support for the rank and file:
“In the wake of three tragic suicides within a mere 24 hours, the silence from Sheriff Luna and his team has been deafening. Instead of taking swift action to address the underlying issues contributing to this devastating epidemic within law enforcement, Luna has been preoccupied with media tours and empty rhetoric, attempting to salvage his public image. This lack of genuine concern and failure to advocate for meaningful change is both disheartening and concerning.
One would expect a leader in Sheriff Luna’s position to prioritize the well-being of their deputies and take immediate steps to address the mental health challenges they face, considering that was a mantra of his campaign. However, his actions suggest a troubling pattern of prioritizing optics over tangible solutions. Rather than engaging in substantive dialogue and implementing necessary reforms, Luna’s efforts have been focused on managing damage control and maintaining a facade of competence.
Even more disconcerting is the lack of action from Dr. Seetal, the head of the Psychological Services Bureau. As a key figure responsible for addressing mental health concerns within the department, Dr. Seetal’s inaction speaks volumes. Advocacy and meaningful change should be at the forefront of his agenda, yet he has fallen into the same trap of superficial gestures and empty promises.
It is time for Sheriff Luna to acknowledge the gravity of the situation at hand. Behind the smoke and mirrors lies a serious epidemic of mental health issues and suicide within law enforcement. Deputies, who put their lives on the line every day, deserve more than lip service and photo ops. They are in desperate need of real relief and a leader who will advocate tirelessly on their behalf. In a crisis of this magnitude, their combined failure to act is not just a missed opportunity but a dereliction of duty!
The lack of mental health and suicide awareness within law enforcement is a pressing issue that cannot be swept under the rug. It demands immediate attention, comprehensive reforms, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of those who serve and protect our communities. It is time for Sheriff Luna and Dr. Seetal to stop the charade and demonstrate true leadership by taking concrete steps to address this crisis.
The deputies are waiting. They are waiting for relief, waiting for a leader, and waiting for someone who will stand up and advocate for them. It is time for Sheriff Luna and Dr. Seetal to step up, prioritize the mental health of their deputies, and work towards creating a supportive and resilient law enforcement community. Only then can we begin to address the underlying issues and move towards a future where mental health is taken seriously within the ranks of law enforcement.”
The lasting effects of a crumbling infrastructure at LASD are being felt on many levels, resulting in a significant loss of personnel via early retirement, voluntary transfers to other agencies, suicide – and now with the litigation filed by Clinkunbroomer’s family – even murder.
This is a developing story.