“Despite the Sheriff’s Department’s many recent efforts to fortify public trust, this incident reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do.”
Tom Angel, chief of staff of LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, has resigned amid widespread denouncement over emails he sent mocking Muslim-Americans, Black Americans, Latin-Americans, women and others from his work account during his previous job with the Burbank Police Department.
The Sheriff’s department made the announcement in an official statement on their social media accounts.
Despite initially defending his chief of staff last week, adding additionally that he had “no immediate plans” to discipline his chief of staff, the statement came directly from Sheriff McDonnell himself, saying he had accepted Tom Angel’s resignation.
“This incident is one that I find deeply troubling,” McDonnell said in the statement. “Despite the Sheriff’s Department’s many recent efforts to fortify public trust and enhance internal and external accountability and transparency, this incident reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do. I intend to turn this situation into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel.”
McDonnell pledged in his statement to begin introducing random audits of department email accounts along with a more transparent dialogue with community groups to “share thoughts and ideas about improving our understanding of the varied cultures and orientations and deepening our appreciation of the many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve.”
He added further that the department will also examine its training and existing policies for “ensuring accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel.”
The emails were sent in 2012 and 2013 when Angel was the No. 2 police official in Burbank.
“I took my Biology exam last Friday,” said one of the emails, “I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”
The emails echoed a similar controversy – though thankfully at the present time not nearly as systemic – unfolding in San Francisco, where a comprehensive investigation has implicated dozens of officers in a racist texting scandal, along with a former Lieutenant’s arrest for obstructing a rape investigation.