Probation Supervisor Files $10 Million Dollar Claim Against the County Naming LASD Lieutenant for Unlawful Detainment, Federal and State Rights Violated

A Los Angeles County Probation Supervisor filed a notice of intent to sue this week for damages sustained during an incident at Los Padrinos Juvenile Facility in February.

Supervising Detention Services Officer Richard Ruiz is seeking $10 million dollars in damages after allegedly being unlawfully detained and having state and federal rights violated after a routine security screening at the direction of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Eric Strong, on loan to the Department of Probation and currently the Chief of Safety.


In 2022, Lieutenant Strong ran for LA County Sheriff in 2022, sources say solicited by LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell with the intention to water down votes in an attempt to derail incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva who was running for re-election.

Sources reveal Mitchell’s reward for Lieutenant Strong entering the race was to direct Sheriff Luna to “loan” him to the probation department where he could prove his leadership capabilities, potentially earning him a promotion and perhaps motivating another run for Sheriff.

So far his leadership has failed miserably leading to multiple incidents of alleged civil rights violations not only of his staff, but civilians entering the facilities, with one of the most recent incidents leading to the $10 million dollar claim filed this week naming Lieutenant Strong as the injuring party.

On February 18th, Supervising Detention Services Officer Richard Ruiz arrived for his shift at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall despite battling an illness and underwent a routine security screening where DPO II Mario Padilla, Jr. confronted Ruiz with a large plastic Ziploc bag containing numerous cold medications and antibiotics Ruiz dropped prior to arriving at the security screening. Ruiz informed Padilla that the medications were for an illness he was battling and needed antibiotics to ensure his cough and other symptoms did not become worse.

Padilla, who is a subordinate rank to Ruiz, was not in uniform or wearing any probation department identification card, ordered Ruiz to provide him with his employee number.

Ruiz questioned Padilla, who he was given the fact that he could not be identified, and the validity of his request. Padilla then informed Ruiz his intent to write a report about the incident at which time Ruiz cooperated and placed the medications back in his personally owned vehicle which was parked in the parking lot nearby.

Shortly after, the incident escalated when Padilla confronted Ruiz in the lobby while he was conversing with another member of the probation staff. Padilla informed Ruiz that he was conducting an internal investigation regarding the incident. Padilla then physically and verbally threatened Ruiz as he ordered him to an empty office where he was held against his will. Padilla audio recorded this portion the event.

During Ruiz’s confinement, Padilla asked to search his vehicle, informing him that an uncertified K9 canine scent dog employed by a civilian security company had alerted to narcotics on Ruiz. Knowing this was a false claim and that he did not have any narcotics on him, and also having the knowledge that most of the security company’s canine scent dogs are not certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, nor do the K9s alert to cold medicine, Ruiz questioned the validity of the claim and the probable cause to search his vehicle. Ruiz then asked to call his legal counsel.

According to Ruiz’s claim, during the call, Padilla hovered over him with the intent to intimidate him. Ruiz then informed Padilla that he would not consent to an illegal search of his vehicle.

Fearing the confinement was going to get worse, Ruiz called the Downey Police Department to report this incident. Approximately an hour later, Officers Hernandez and Gomez  from the Downey Police Department arrived and escorted Ruiz out of the facility to his vehicle.

Padilla then intervened and informed the responding officers that Ruiz was being detained pending an administrative internal investigation and was not free to leave. Padilla proceeded to handcuff Ruiz making handcuffs so tight they left numerous marks Ruiz’s wrists. Padilla ignored numerous pleas by Ruiz to loosen the cuffs, all of which was captured on the responding Downey Police officer’s body-worn camera. Padilla then informed Ruiz that his orders came directly from Chief of Safety, Lt. Strong.

Padilla proceeded to illegally search Ruiz’s person and read him Miranda rights, allegedly using physical force to move Ruiz from the lobby area back to the same empty office at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall – all under the direction of Lieutenant Strong. Ruiz was in fear for his life while being falsely imprisoned for approximately an hour and a half.

Lieutenant Strong arrived at Los Padrinos allegedly demanding Ruiz’s car keys and forcibly removing them from him. Lieutenant Strong then ordered members of the probation staff to search Ruiz’s personally owned vehicle without consent or a search warrant. Lieutenant Strong seized the medications belonging to Ruiz from his personally owned vehicle without consent. Ruiz then complained to Strong that both he and Padilla had violated federal and state laws by illegal detaining him and the unauthorized, illegal search and seizure.

Ruiz was ultimately released from custody, suffering numerous injuries from the incident and was admitted to a local hospital where he was treated.

The claim states that Ruiz believes he was relieved of duty as a form of retaliation for his complaints to Lieutenant Strong regarding his rights being violated.

Attorney Tom Yu, representing Ruiz, made this observation about the failures at the department under Lieutenant Strong’s leadership and the at the County level to protect probation employees:

 “Mr. Eric Strong and the corrupted regime at the probation department continue to harm their own employees without any kind of accountability.  The Board of Supervisors and the Probation Oversight Committee have both turned a blind eye to what is going on inside the department.  The probation department does not “[b]uild safer communities through positive change,” rather, the County and the probation department destroy the lives of their employees.  We very much look forward to holding everyone involved accountable to the full extent permitted by law.”

Sources say Probation Department Chief Guillermo Viera Rosa has been warned numerous times about Strong’s rogue operation, but continues to look the other way despite the extensive damage occurring under his supervision.





Cece Woods

The Current Report Editor in Chief Cece Woods started The Local Malibu, an activism based platform in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of pro-preservation ballot measures and seating five top vote-getters in the Malibu City Council elections.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the two-year law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings, and a few short months later provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over one million hits across her social media platforms.

Since 2020, Woods was the only journalist reporting on the on-going public corruption involving former L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington. Woods worked with Political Corruption expert Adam Loew, DC Watchdog organizations and leaders in the Capitol exposing Washington which ultimately led to the withdrawal of his nomination to head the FAA.

Woods also founded Malibu based 90265 Magazine and Cali Mag devoted to the authentic southern California lifestyle.

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