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HomeNewsMurdered Los Angeles sheriff's deputy's family slaps county with $20M wrongful death...

Murdered Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy’s family slaps county with $20M wrongful death lawsuit

The family of murdered Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who died in an ambush shooting at a red light in September, announced a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit this week alleging staffing shortages were intentionally left unfilled and that mandatory overtime played a direct role in his death.

According to court documents, there are 2,000 vacant deputy jobs in the sheriff’s office – the result of “historic executive mismanagement” that created an environment that left Clinkunbroomer, 30, “physically and chronically exhausted” after working more than 100 hours of mandatory overtime a month.

“It can’t go on, the way they’re being treated right now,” the deputy’s mother, Kim Clinkunbroomer, told reporters Tuesday.

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“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,” read a notice of claim published by FOX 11 Los Angeles. “This Government Claim and subsequent lawsuit seeks justice for the family and to save lives of other deputies.”

Around 6 p.m. on Sept. 16, Clinkunbroomer pulled up to a red light down the street from the sheriff’s station in Palmdale. He was driving his marked car and wearing his uniform. As he waited for the light to turn green, another car pulled up alongside him – and a man inside shot him in the head.

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Authorities tracked the suspect, Kevin Salazar, 29, to his family’s home in Palmdale two days later and arrested him on murder charges after a standoff.

“Sheriff [Robert] 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 notice reads. “The result is that the Sheriffs 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.”

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“Had he not been fatigued and exhausted, he would’ve responded safely,” Clinkunbroomer’s father Michael, a former deputy himself, said during a news briefing. “And he’d be here today.”

He came from a family with a long history of working in law enforcement – with his father serving decades in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and his brother still on the job in Ventura County.

Clinkunbroomer was also engaged to be married.

“The county did not pull the trigger, that was done by the suspect, allegedly Mr. Salazar,” the family’s attorney, Brad Gage, said during a news briefing. “But what the county did was help to facilitate this tragic and needless death.”

He said the county has deprived the sheriff’s department of funds for years despite “critically short” staffing levels. More than 40% of late shifts were being filled by officers on overtime in the Palmdale Station, where Clinkunbroomer worked. The deputy had just worked a double shift before showing up for the shift on the night of his murder.

Gage alleges that the county knew that overworking deputies created unsafe conditions – and even used to have a policy barring members from working more than 90 hours of overtime a month.

“There was a reason why 90 hours was the maximum,” he said. “It was for the safety of the deputies and the safety of the public.”

​U.S. News Today on Fox News

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