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Sheriff Luna Named in Claim Filed by Murdered Deputy’s Family

Sheriff Luna Named in Claim Filed by Murdered Deputy’s Family

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna speaks as the family of sheriff's deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer and his fiancee Brittany Lindsey (2nd R) stand during a news conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Cece Woods

Cece Woods

11/28/2023

Updated: 11/28/2023

Commentary
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna was named in a government claim filed Nov. 27 against the county and the sheriff’s department by the family of murdered Palmdale deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer.
On Sept. 16, Mr. Clinkunbroomer was ambushed in his patrol car while at a stoplight just outside the Palmdale station.
Mr. Luna and his executive staff’s alleged mismanagement of the largest sheriff’s department in the country is being used as a basis for the wrongful death claim.
“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,” it states.
“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.”
The claim is seeking $20 million in damages.
Mr. Luna has endured harsh criticism by his personnel in person and through a series of anonymous deputy letters circulating on social media shortly after two high-profile use of force incidents at the Lancaster and Palmdale stations:
“Deputies see the removal of hardworking personnel as nothing less than lack of faith in ability to perform our duty, and a betrayal from the Sheriff, and his command staff, overseeing the Antelope Valley,” states the first letter.
“Deputies are no longer actively looking for criminal activity, and are hesitant to respond to emergency calls without several units backup to accompany them. Emergency calls are seeing a longer response time now. When our own department supports a vocal few touting a viral video, rather than support the people it has trained to handle criminal suspects in exactly this manner. When the department itself poses the greatest risk for our means to provide for our families, or worse, treating us like the very criminals we try to apprehend, that is more disheartening than the thought of dying in the line of duty.”
To add salt to an already open gaping wound, shortly after, Mr. Clinkunbroomer was murdered, and a second anonymous deputy letter surfaced expressing a noticeable lack of compassion and reinforcement from leaders of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
The claim filed by the Clinkunbroomer family claims the exhaustive and demanding overtime mandated by the department led to Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s inability to be fully cognizant of the dangers that surrounded him.
“[T]he 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,” states the claim.
“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.”
This month, four members of the department committed suicide within a 24-hour period. The wife of the fourth victim allegedly confronted Mr. Luna and Assistant Sheriff of Custody Operations Sergio Aloma at the hospital, blaming the demands of an under-supported and understaffed department for her husband’s death.
In the most recent anonymous deputy letter released shortly after the suicides, the true sentiment of the rank and file expressed in the letter echoes the reasoning behind the claim filed against the county and the department yesterday by the Clinkunbroomer family:
“The lack of awareness in the upper echelon of LASD is truly astounding. They seemingly don’t understand or care that their actions, and in-actions, are causing people to leave the department in droves; or worse, pushing people past their breaking point. The department itself is exhausting its Deputies in body, mind, and even soul.”
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Cece Woods

Cece Woods

Author

Cece Woods is editor-in-chief of The Current Report. Ms. Woods also started The Local Malibu in 2014, and founded Malibu-based 90265 Magazine and Cali Mag. She has reported extensively on hot topics such as the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings, wildfires, and local public corruption.

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