Family: Claim ‘is about change’
Deputy was shot, killed after long work shifts
By JULIE DRAKE Valley Press Staff Writer
PALMDALE — Michael and Kim Clinkunbroomer, the parents of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who was fatally shot in an ambush attack outside the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station in September, announced a $20 million damages claim Tuesday, accusing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the county of knowingly endangering the lives of deputies by requiring them to work mandatory overtime.
“I don’t want any parent to ever have to sit at a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner with someone missing like we had to this year,” Kim Clinkunbroomer said to reporters during a press conference at attorney Brad Gage’s law office in Woodland Hills. The press conference was broadcast live on Gage’s Instagram account.
Clinkunbroomer, 30, a third-generation deputy, was killed Sept. 16 while sitting in his patrol car at a traffic light near the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q.
“Four o’clock was my last message to him,” she said. “We were planning his wedding, as he was engaged four days prior; three hours later, I was planning his funeral.”
Kim and Michael Clinkunbroomer filed the claim Monday against the county, sheriff’s department and city of Palmdale alleging that the mandatory overtime deputies are required to work is a safety hazard that leaves them chronically exhausted and suffering from fatigue each month.
The governmental claim is a precursor to a lawsuit. The county has 45 days to accept it or reject it, after which the lawsuit can be filed, Gage said.
The money is a very small part of the claim, Kim Clinkunbroomer said.
“It is about change; it’s about change in the way these guys are treated, men and women, working conditions,” she said. “It can’t go on the way they’re being treated right now.”
The money cannot bring
back a life, but it can send a message to the county that they need to make a change, Gage said.
“We certainly have a lot of statements with admissions by Sheriff Luna and members of the Board of Supervisors that they know of these dangers and they haven’t taken action,” Gage said.
He added the county created an emergency situation through poor planning, lack of budgeting and lack of hiring.
“You don’t get a pass when you know something is dangerous,” he said.
He added the case is about public safety, protecting the deputies as well as the community.
“When you have deputies that are working, who are exhausted, who are working 140 hours or so of overtime a month on top of full shifts, with the commutes that they have to go to from home, they cannot do their jobs well,” Gage said, added he wanted to bring awareness to the community about the hazards of mandato- ry overtime.
“Ryan was a training officer with demonstrated excellence, but because of being forced to work so much overtime, he was unable to see the danger signs of what occurred to him,” Gage said.
According to Gage, the accused murderer, Kevin Cataneo Salazar, pulled up behind Clinkunbroomer’s patrol vehicle and then pulled up beside him, allegedly pointed a gun at the deputy and then allegedly shot him.
A good Samaritan discovered the deputy unconscious in his vehicle and promptly alerted Palmdale station personnel,
“(B)ecause of being forced to work so much overtime, (Ryan Clinkunbroomer) was unable to see the danger signs of what occurred to him."
— Brad Gage attorney for Clinkunbroomer family
authorities said. Clinkunbroomer was transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center, where he died. Salazar was charged with Clinkunbroomer’s murder and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In the two weeks before he was killed, Clinkunbroomer worked 80 hours of regular time and 69 hours of overtime, Gage said.
He worked a double shift on Sept. 15. He got off at 8 a.m. Sept. 16, went home, slept a few hours and was back at the station at 4 p.m. to start his shift. He was killed two hours later, Kim Clinkunbroomer said.
“I fully believe, fully believe, that if my son was not overworked that he would have been in a better position to not be where he is today,” she said.
Kim Clinkunbroomer comes from a family of law enforcement that spans four generations. She worked for the sheriff’s department for about 10 years.
“Those men and women that put that badge on put it on with pride to do the best job they can, but they need to have the working conditions to do the best job that they can,” she said.
Deputy Clinkunbroomer had been with the Palmdale station since July 2018. He served as a field training officer.
“It takes an extraordinary amount of skill and ability to be selected,” said Michael Clinkunbroomer, who served with the LA County Sheriff’s Department for about 30 years and retired with the rank of lieutenant.
“For several years he taught brand-new deputies to patrol, area awareness, threat assessment and how to properly respond to a threat, all of which didn’t happen,” he said. “It’s very clear, I think to us, had he not been fatigued and exhausted, he would have responded safely and he’d be here today.”
Michael Clinkunbroomer worked three years in patrol as a field sergeant.
“My No.1 goal as a field sergeant was to ensure that those deputies went home every night, and I can’t do that for my son anymore,” he said.
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