A top Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department official has resigned days after it was revealed that he had sent racially insensitive emails about Latinos, blacks and Muslim while in his previous job with the Burbank Police Department.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement on Sunday that he accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Tom Angel, calling the emails “deeply troubling.” The resignation follows McDonnell’s previous comment that he had no immediate plans to discipline Angel.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Angel sent the emails between 2012 and 2013 when he was second-in-command at the Burbank Police Department. The Times obtained the emails through public records law.
One email joked about black people and Mexicans filling jail cells. Another listed "towels for hats" for why "Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide." It also said, "You can't wash off the smell of donkey."
Another email read, ""I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found [in] cells. Apparently, 'blacks' and 'Mexicans' were not the correct answers.”
Angel told the newspaper he was sorry if he offended anyone and never intended for the emails to become public.
"Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn't have forwarded," he said. "I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes."
When asked about the “Biology exam” email, Angel described himself as being of Mexican heritage.
McDonnell said he plans to turn the controversy into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel.
He said he would introduce random audits of department email accounts. He also said he would meet with various community groups to share ideas about deepening the department's understanding and appreciation of the "many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve."
The department also will examine its training and existing policies for "ensuring accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel," he said.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.