The parents of a slain Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy are suing county and city officials for $20m, claiming that their son’s death would have been preventable if officials did not force deputies to work large amounts of overtime.
In a lawsuit filed against the City of Palmdale and the County of Los Angeles, Michael Clinkunbroomer and Kim Clinkunbroomer, the mother and father of Ryan Clinkunbroomer, say their son had to work more than 100 hours of overtime a month.
The officer was “physically and chronically exhausted, suffering from fatigue,” the complaint states.
The parents allege that the Sheriff and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors knew about the effects their son’s workload was having on him and other deputies, but disregarded concerns for their safety.
“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,” the complaint states.
“Sheriff Luna continues to force his deputies [to] work mind-numbing overtime resulting in Ryan’s death and the likely death of other deputies.”
During a news conference on Tuesday, Ms Clinkunbroomer said filing the suit was the last thing she ever imagined doing, especially as someone who came from a family with four generations of law enforcement service members, which includes her father, grandfather, son and husband.
“It’s nothing I ever wish on anybody,” the mother said.
Mr Clinkunbroomer, the father, served in the Sheriff’s Department for 32 years, spending three of those as a patrol field sergeant.
As a sergeant, he said, he ensured that his deputies got home safely, something that he’s no longer able to do for his son.
The younger Clinkunbroomer was shot on 16 September after he exited a Palmdale Sheriff Station’s parking lot.
Police say 29-year-old Kevin Salazar pulled up alongside Mr Clinkunbroomer’s patrol vehicle, which had the driver’s side window rolled down and shot him in the head, killing the officer instantly.
The officer had served in the department for eight years, most recently as a field training officer.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, “The senseless ambush murder of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was the epitome of evil and the Department continues to mourn his death.
“We lost a valued member of our Department family who was committed to serving our communities. The Sheriff’s Department remains committed to securing a successful prosecution against the individual responsible for Ryan’s murder.
“Our thoughts continue to remain with the entire Clinkunbroomer family.”
Mr Salazar has been charged with one count of murder, in addition to special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer, murder committed by lying in wait, murder committed by firing from a car and personal use of a firearm.
He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.