An official with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is in trouble after sending racist, sexist and bigoted emails that targeted Black people, Muslims, Latinos, and women. Tom Angel, who serves as Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s Chief of Staff, forwarded a series of emails in 2012 and 2013.
The irony of Angel’s infraction is that he was hired in Burbank as the second top official to reform a local department over accusations of police brutality, sexual harassment, and other issues, reports the Los Angeles Times. The publication adds the paper trail left behind by Angel reveal a series of hateful and tasteless jokes that decried the very mission he was tasked to perform.
From 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.”
In an interview, Angel told The Times he did not mean to embarrass or demean anyone and said it was unfortunate that his work emails could be obtained by the public under the state’s records laws. Asked about the “Biology exam” email, which made light of high incarceration rates in some minority communities, he described himself as Mexican.
Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded,” Angel said. “I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes.”
Angel has been with the department since 2015 in his current role and vowed to help right the reported issues within the agency. Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he was disappointed in Angel but would not discipline him since the emails are before his time with the agency.
Activists groups have expressed sharp criticism of Angel’s emails, which became public after an attorney requested the records and the Times as well after the revelation of the legal request.
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