On Saturday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was murdered in cold blood while sitting in his patrol car at a stop light. On Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the filing of charges against his alleged murderer Kevin Salazar. Gascón not only made his statement about himself, but his delivery, the charges filed, and his response to this tragic and callous murder could not have been more anemic.
Good afternoon everyone. For the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department, thank you for being here today, appreciate you. The trial team, thank you, thank you so much for being here. You know, for someone that was a police officer for over 30 years this hits home in many ways.
By all means, let’s make it about you, Gascón.
But today we’re here to announce the filing of charges in the case that deeply concerns all of us. Kevin Salazar is facing charges of murder accompanied by three special circumstances allegations in the murder of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer:
- For a special circumstance that we have alleged that the killing was committed against a peace officer;
- The second special circumstances that he was lying in wait;
- And the third is by means discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle.
When Gascón was sworn into office on December 7, 2020, the removal of special circumstances of crimes against peace officers and gun enhancements were a big part of his Special Directives. After much criticism from law enforcement, victims, and his fellow attorneys, in February 2022, Gascón decided to revise the language to include, “rare occasions.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Friday backed off of two of his most criticized directives, noting in a series of memos that there “may be the rare occasion” where special circumstance allegations may be “necessary” that could result in a life prison term without parole in murder cases, and that juveniles may be selectively transferred to the adult court system in the “most egregious cases that warrant a state prison commitment.”
Guess one of those “rare occasions” has come. Gascón continued his statement:
Ryan was just 30 years old, he was an eight-year veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff Department serving Palmdale and the Antelope Valley. Sheriff Luna said the other day that Ryan was a superstar. He became a training officer which is a position of honor and reserved for the best of the best, very early in his career. He dedicated himself to the calling that carries with it the weight of responsibility and the promise of making our community safer, but his life wasn’t only about the uniform he worked for, the star that he proudly adorned on his chest, it was also about the potential. The lives that he could have touched, the crimes that he could have prevented, and the difference that he could have made in the life of those he swore to protect.
He was newly engaged to be married. He’s a beloved son, a brother, a colleague to many, and a friend and community member. His sacrifice serves as a reminder of the courage and dedication that defines our law enforcement community.
As Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s mother, fiance, and sister wept uncontrollably behind him, what Gascón fails to mention is that this sacrifice was uncalled for and unnecessary. Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s murder is the direct result of Gascón’s Special Directives and his soft-on-crime policies. But that would require actual self-reflection, and that’s just not something Gascón seems to be very good with.
The loss of any life is a tragedy, but when a sworn officer… when it’s a sworn officer, someone who has taken an oath to protect our communities and is taken from us, it cuts deeper. It’s an assault on the very fiber of our community and civilization. It is a stark reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face every day while selfishly serving and protecting our neighborhoods.
Then why does Gascón continue to allow Los Angeles County to be overrun with criminal activity all in the name of social justice? On Thursday, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer lit into Gascón in epic fashion. Spitzer took to X to issue his statement, and boy, does it leave a mark.
Statement from Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer Regarding the Failure by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon to Seek Justice for Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer— OCDA Todd Spitzer (@OCDAToddSpitzer) September 21, 2023
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon does not care about the execution pic.twitter.com/Al7zCOJlDN
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon does not care about the execution of 30-year-old Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who was murdered while he was stopped at a red light in a marked patrol vehicle in his uniform, his LA County Sheriff’s badge pinned over his heart. Gascon cares about sparing the life of the executioner, who shot the young deputy in the head and sped away, leaving the newly engaged lawman bleeding to death behind the wheel.
Anemic Gascón didn’t even bother to mention these details, which would have brought a greater understanding of why special circumstances are needed in cases such as these.
At a Wednesday press conference at the Hall of Justice, where Gascon waxed poetic about his 30-year career as a police officer himself, Gascon said he was seeking the maximum penalty allowable under the law for the murderer of Deputy Clinkunbroomer: Life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). That was a lie. The death penalty still exists in California – no matter how much George Gascon and Governor Gavin Newsom want to pretend it doesn’t.
Spitzer calls out Gascón’s dishonesty in saying he would be prosecuting Kevin Salazar to the fullest extent of the law when the “fullest extent,” should he be convicted, is a needle in his arm. A distasteful act that both Gascón and California’s governor despise and want to see removed.
In fact, California law allows the death penalty to be sought if a police officer is murdered. But Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s murderer will not have to worry about being executed because Gascon does not believe in the death penalty. It’s not a deterrent, he said. Gascon had already decided the deputy’s death wasn’t worth going through the special circumstances analysis – a process we all follow in deciding whether to seek LWOP or death.
Spitzer also brings up Gascón’s own statements on the death penalty and further calls out Gascón’s hypocrisy in trotting out the special circumstances when he feels these are unnecessary as well.
With Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s family – which included two fellow law enforcement officers – behind him, Gascon callously explained that the death penalty would not bring their son, their brother, and their fiancé back from the dead. So what was the point? There is not a law on the books that can reincarnate the dead. They know that Ryan is never coming home.
And now Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s family – and every law enforcement officer in Los Angeles – knows the harsh reality that George Gascon, the person the people of Los Angeles County elected to protect public safety, refuses to seek justice for the men and women who are sworn to protect us all. The execution of Deputy Clinkunbroomer is an unacceptable tragedy. While law enforcement officers across the nation grieve the loss of yet another officer murdered in the line of duty, they too must cope with the knowledge that justice for the men and women behind the badge is nowhere to be found in the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice – as long as George Gascon is the District Attorney.
In the X post, Spitzer tagged Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and Orange County law enforcement and attorneys, as well as Governor Gavin Newsom. Hair Gel is probably too busy excoriating red states about books and posturing on climate change to bother to read it.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and much of Los Angeles law enforcement as a whole, is in crisis already, with an inability to meet their recruitment numbers, and officers opting to retire rather than face their work being ignored or their lives being unnecessarily sacrificed because of this radical D.A. The murder of Deputy Clinkunbroomer and Gascón’s lackluster statement and limited charges only cement the reality that there is no honor or benefit to being a LEO in Gascón’s Los Angeles. Spitzer simply shines a bright light on this.
Will Los Angeles County residents finally do something about it?