Top-Ranked L.A. County Sheriff Official Resigns After Racist E-Mails Resurface

Tom Angel, former chief of staff for LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, resigned after sending offensive emails he sent to people via his work computer. Photo courtesy of KCAL.

Tom Angel, former chief of staff for LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, resigned after sending offensive emails he sent to people via his work computer. Photo courtesy of KCAL.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff official has resigned after racist and inflammatory e-mails he sent three or four years ago were uncovered, CNN.com reports.

Tom Angel, the No. 2 official in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, willingly left his position following reports that he sent intolerant messages about African-Americans, Mexicans and Muslims from his work e-mail.

According to the Los Angeles Times, one of Angel’s e-mails is quoted as saying, “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.” Another e-mail included a list of reasons why “Muslim Terrorists are so quick to commit suicide.” The reasons included wearing “towels for hats” and “constant wailing from some idiot in a tower,” per the Los Angeles Times.

This incident comes after the resignation of former San Francisco police officer Jason Lai after details emerged that he sent a number of racist and homophobic text messages, CNN.com reports.

“I hate that beaner, but I think the nig is worse,” one text read. “Indian ppl are disgusting,” read another. Lai also used racial slurs to refer to President Obama and LeBron James, the New York Daily News reports.

The San Francisco Police Department experienced a similar texting scandal a year ago in which 14 officers were suspected of sending and receiving distasteful text messages. The incident caused enough outcry to spark an investigation. According to District Attorney George Gascon, the judges hearing the case — Cruz Reynoso, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell and Dickran Tevrizian Jr. — would determine whether or not a “deeper culture of bias” existed within the department.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department gave a statement to CNN Thursday saying that Angel offered “profuse and sincere” apologies for the offensive e-mails, per CNN.com

“Chief Angel’s decision-making and actions in his long prior career with the Sheriff’s Department and since his return in 2015 reveal more about his actual character and typical good judgment than the instances from four years prior currently reported in the media,” it read.

By Sunday however, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced Angel’s resignation. In a post on the department’s Facebook page, McDonnell acknowledged that the incident is a reminder that “we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do” and said he will use the situation as a learning experience for all other LASD personnel, CNN.com reports.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Angel said he meant no harm by sending the e-mails.

“Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded,” the publication quoted Angel as saying. “I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes.”

The recent racially charged incidents within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have prompted law enforcement to promise anti-bias reforms. From now on, the sheriff’s department will perform random checks on e-mail accounts from staffers, along with a comprehensive review of the county’s current guidelines for cultural and ethnic sensitivity, the New York Daily News reports.

“We are only as effective as the relationships, credibility and trust we have with our community; this is a fundamental point that I and LASD personnel take very seriously,” McDonnell said.

The publication also reports that the San Francisco Police Department will undergo some changes as well. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr vowed reforms in his department and announced Friday that all officers would be required to complete anti-bias training.

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