A sheriff’s lieutenant is suing Los Angeles County, alleging his supervisors retaliated against him for trying to let the public know shootings occurred in and around Malibu Creek State Park before a man was killed there while camping with his daughters in 2018.
Lt. James Royal’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit states that he often advised his bosses to warn people about the shootings before Tristan Beaudette, 35, was killed at the park on June 22, 2018, while sleeping in a tent with his daughters, ages 2 and 4, the suit states.
The suit filed Wednesday seeks unspecified damages. An LASD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The first shooting occurred on Nov. 3, 2016, in Tapia Park; the second on Nov. 9, 2016, in Malibu Creek State Park; and the third on Jan. 7, 2017, also in Malibu Creek State Park, the suit states.
Royal, a 24-year LASD veteran, told his supervisors that the sheriff’s department needed to warn the public regarding the initial shootings, the suit stated.
However, no warning was issued and Royals’ bosses told him that it was a state park problem and not theirs, according to the suit.
Four additional shootings occurred in the area, including one just four days before the Beaudette killing, when a Tesla car was struck by a bullet at Malibu Creek State Park, the suit states.
Royal recommended to a gathering at the sheriff’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles that a public safety statement be issued, but once again his suggestion was denied, the suit states.
After Beaudette was killed, Royal was instructed by his supervisors to state at a town hall meeting that the official position of the LASD was that the prior shootings were unrelated to his death, the suit states.
In retaliation for speaking out, Royal was transferred from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station to the Santa Clarita station, a less prestigious assignment, and was stripped of his detective status, the suit states. He also was subjected to an Internal Affairs investigation under false circumstances that has damaged his reputation, the suit alleges.
On July 29, Erica Wu, Beaudette’s widow, and their daughters filed a wrongful-death suit against Los Angeles County, also alleging the LASD failed to warn the public about earlier shootings in the same general area.