L.A. Sheriff Dept. Official ‘Apologies’ for Racist Emails

By Kenrya Rankin Apr 28, 2016

Tom Angel is the chief of staff for L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. City records recently revealed that when Angel was the second in command with the Burbank Police Department, he regularly used his work email address to send messages full of jokes that upheld stereotypes about Latinos, Muslims, Blacks and women. The Los Angeles Times reports that Angel was actually hired by the Burbank force to “reform a department reeling from allegations of police brutality as well as racism and sexual harassment.”

Per the Times:

“I took my Biology exam last Friday,” said one of the forwarded emails, which were obtained under the state’s public records law. “I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”

Another email ridiculed concerns about the racial profiling of Muslims as terrorism suspects. A third included the subject line, “How dumb is dumb?” and listed 20 reasons “Muslim Terrorists are so quick to commit suicide,” including “Towels for hats,” “Constant wailing from some idiot in a tower” and “You can’t wash off the smell of donkey.”

Angel spoke to the Times, saying he didn’t intend to demean anyone. “Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded. I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes,” he said. He also described himself as “Mexican.”

Sheriff McDonnell said he would not discipline Angel, as the emails were sent when he was with Burbank PD. “Everybody’s got their own take on humor. This was divisive and nonproductive,” he said. “It’s a shame the whole thing happened at all.”