Los Angeles – November 29, 2023
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna finds himself at the center of controversy as the family of murdered Palmdale deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer files a government claim on November 27 against the county and the sheriff’s department.
The claim alleges wrongful death and places blame on Sheriff Luna and his executive staff for their alleged mismanagement of the largest sheriff’s department in the country.
The tragic incident occurred on September 16 when Deputy Clinkunbroomer was ambushed in his patrol car while at a stoplight just outside the Palmdale station. The family’s claim contends that Sheriff Luna and the Board of Supervisors were aware of the risks associated with forcing overtime but continued to do so, consciously disregarding the safety and rights of deputies.
According to the claim, Sheriff Luna’s department knew or should have known that deputies would be targeted for execution due to exhaustion resulting from excessive overtime. The family asserts that the relentless overtime, in violation of past Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), created a known safety hazard, making the tragedy foreseeable and preventable.
The claim, seeking $20 million in damages, points to the alleged intentional actions of Sheriff Luna and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), arguing that they led to Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s chronic fatigue and compromised situational awareness, contributing to his murder.
This development follows harsh criticism of Sheriff Luna by personnel, expressed through a series of anonymous deputy letters circulating on social media. These letters raised concerns about the removal of hardworking personnel, lack of faith in leadership, and hesitancy among deputies to actively engage in law enforcement duties.
The claim further highlights the broader issue of department-wide executive mismanagement, with deputy vacancies averaging 20% or 2,000 deputies. Allegedly, LASD supervisors mandated Palmdale Station patrol deputies to work extensive overtime, leaving Deputy Clinkunbroomer physically and chronically exhausted.
In a tragic escalation, four members of the department committed suicide within 24 hours this month. The claim indirectly links these suicides to the demanding working conditions, claiming that an under-supported and understaffed department was a contributing factor.
The heartbreaking situation has ignited a wave of criticism, not only against Sheriff Luna but against the LASD’s upper echelon, accused of a lack of awareness and understanding of the toll their actions are taking on the deputies. The claim filed by the Clinkunbroomer family seeks justice and aims to shed light on the systemic issues within the LASD, emphasizing the need for accountability and reform.
As the legal battle unfolds, questions linger about the broader implications for law enforcement practices, personnel management, and the duty of care owed to those who put their lives on the line to protect the public. The lawsuit serves as a stark reminder of the profound impact leadership decisions can have on the lives and safety of those serving in law enforcement.