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LA County Supes Approve $3.9 Million Settlement for the Family of Ryan Twyman, After Deputies Shot 34 Bullets Into His Car

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

On June 6, 2019, two Los Angeles County deputies fired nearly three dozen rounds into a white Kia Forte as its driver reversed through an apartment complex parking lot in Willowbrook. While the passenger of the sedan, Daimeon Leffall, was not hit by the gunfire, the deputies killed the driver, Ryan Twyman, a 24-year-old father of three. Twyman and Leffall were both unarmed.

This week, the LA County Board of Supervisors approved a $3.9 million settlement to Twyman’s parents and children, and to Leffall. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas called the “unusually large” settlement “no substitute for justice.”

“Beyond the wrongful death of Mr. Twyman and the costly settlement that is attached to it, a lasting consequence of this incident is the painful trauma and grief that it causes his family, his friends, and the community at large,” said Ridley-Thomas.

An" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> LASD-narrated video of the shooting released on June 20, 2019, showed the two Century Station deputies pull into the parking lot, get out of their patrol car, and walk up behind Twyman’s parked car with their guns drawn. At this point, the sheriff’s department says that the deputies, then on either side of the vehicle, issued verbal commands for Twyman and Leffall to roll down the vehicle’s windows.

The officer on the passenger side “was unsure if the occupants inside the decedent’s vehicle heard the commands due to the window’s being rolled up,” according to LA County Counsel’s summary of the shooting.

That deputy opened the unlocked back passenger door of the car.

The video shows about 12 or 13 seconds of time between the deputies exiting their patrol car and the first deputy opening the door of the Kia, gun pointed inside.

Several seconds later, Twyman put the car in reverse, and backed it into the middle of the parking lot. The car’s open back door appeared to pull the deputy along.

The department’s incident video narrator said that the deputy was trying to maintain his balance and not get “knocked down and run over” when he and his partner began firing into the car. The deputy — who remained standing throughout — and his partner continued to fire, even after the first officer had gotten out of the way of the car, which continued to slowly reverse until it hit a carport support beam. At this point, the second deputy retrieved a rifle from the trunk of the patrol car and both deputies appeared to fire more rounds at Twyman and Leffall in the Kia.

According to the LASD, Twyman was on probation and was under investigation for possessing guns with a felony on his record. The department had been looking for Twyman to arrest him on the weapons charge after a search of the young man’s house turned up firearms. Twyman wasn’t home at the time of the search.

“At no time during the course of these events” did Twyman or Leffall “pose any reasonable or credible threat of violence” to the deputies, “nor did they do anything to justify the force used against them.” according to the complaint filed by the family’s lawyer, Brian Dunn, of the Cochran Firm California.  That force, the complaint alleged, was not only deadly, but also “excessive, unnecessary, and unlawful,” and in violation of the LASD’s policy against shooting into vehicles.
The Twyman family’s legal team also accused the deputies of “deliberate indifference,” by failing to render medical aid to the dying man, writing that “after a significant and appreciable period of time had passed following the shooting, Ryan Twyman died as a direct and proximate result of the gunshot wounds inflicted upon his person” by the defendants.

Twyman’s loved ones were also among a handful of grieving families who, speaking before the board of supervisors last year, reported taunting and intimidation from East LA and Century Station deputies at funerals and public memorials honoring people killed by members of the LASD.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said the shooting and settlement pointed to the critical need for the “robust” and “legally mandated” oversight of the Office of the Inspector General to address a “lack of training and accountability,” and “failures of leadership” within the sheriff’s department.

(During this same Tuesday meeting, the supervisors voted 3-2 to explore ways they might be able to remove from office voter-elected LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, with whom they and Inspector General Max Huntsman have an ongoing feud regarding oversight and accountability, the budget, and the sheriff’s efforts to keep Caren Carl Mandoyan on staff.)

The “careless” tragedy of Twyman’s killing, Ridley-Thomas said, also “underscores the need” for the board of supervisors to do all it can to build up violence prevention efforts and other trauma-informed programs “that help families and communities heal from grief and trauma.”

Twyman was killed on June 6, 2019, when deputies fired nearly three dozen rounds at two people in a reversing vehicle.

12 Comments

  • No bid contracts to PR firms to spread the word about protecting yourself from Covid19. One firm “Mercury” has a sprinkling of form political operatives. Nothing like taxpayer money to sweeten their pensions. The other “Fraser” has a CEO who had been jammed up by the SEC for insider trading a few years back! Sheila Kuehl defends the no bid contracts says, “every cent spent saves lives”. Neither one of these firms seem to have the telephone numbers to warn nursing homes, where scores of elderly died. We should ask for our money back!

    Come to think of it wasn’t Kuehl involved in another no bid contract to a friend. A sexual harassment hotline for LAMetro. Cost the tax payer 8k per call. Kuehl said that was worth every penny. Save one women from sexual assault/harassment was worth it seemed to be her logic. We were all shamed as usual for even asking. No article digging out the truth from WLA. She seems to not have any problem wasting our money.

    Ms. Kuehl the shaming, finger waging, virtuous fighter for women has been all over the Sheriff for his missteps but is virtually untouchable for hers.

    She presents herself as a fighter for women. Yet she has previously accepted campaign contributions from Playboy Enterprises. Yes the sexual exploiter of women. Look it up. In was surprised. I also found she was supported by a venture capitalist and a hedge fund manager. Talk about being a fighter for the little guy!

    Amazingly one of her supporters was Countrywide funding a big culprit in the subprime mortgage collapse. She was looking out for the little guy I am sure, when she took their money.

    Hello reporters I am just a curmudgeon calling out hypocrisy, waist, and possible corruption by elected officials. What are you doing!

  • After reading the accounts of what transpired in this incident as a L/E how can any dept accept or justify two officers firing a total of 34 rds into a car where was there training? it sure wasn’t at a dept range training class.
    Last I heard you fire two rds and asses the situation. Did the dept have the officers go through re training , I would surely hope so>

    • Albert-Are you say you were a law enforcement officer? If so, I can assume your career wasnt too long due to so many grammatical errors in your comment. Your reports must have been horrendous.

  • Albert…it brings to mind the famous Mike Tyson quote, “Everybody has a plan until you get lunched in the mouth”. No matter how much training, practice and scenarios a person goes through, reality will always through you a curve. I’ve never scene (thankfully) my life pass before my eyes or been shot at and can only guess what my reaction would be if I had a means to react toward someone trying to kill me. The Malcom X quote, “By any means necessary” comes to mind. Survival instinct! I wont rush to judge someones reaction in dealing with something I’ve never done myself.

  • I have experienced both, as investigator of OIS incidents and as a active shooter, I never would wish the same on any officer you never forget it. Training has a lot to due with how one will respond and if the officer will survive the incident, you realize in this situation the officers had to STOP and re load at least once. time to possible asses the situation. Yes your life does pass in front of you believe me.

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