Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Los Angeles County’s top law enforcement official, has accepted the resignation of his chief of staff after racist emails from several years ago were made public, the New York Daily News is reporting.
Tom Angel submitted his resignation Sunday after emails disparaging blacks and Latinos resurfaced. The emails were exchanged in 2013 and 2014 when Angel was the Assistant Chief of the Burbank Police Department.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 1, 2016
In a statement posted Sunday on the L.A. Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page, McDonnell confirmed that he had accepted Angel’s resignation.
“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.”
The emails, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, which you can read here, contain offensive and disparaging remarks about blacks, Latinos, and Muslims.
Warning: The remainder of this post contains language and images that may be offensive to some readers.
“As I went into my bank, I walked past a black kid sitting at a bus stop. When I came out, he looked at me and said, ‘Any change, sir?’ I said, ‘Nope. You’re still black.’”
Other jokes disparage fat women, make light of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, or denigrate women in general. Another email, while not technically a joke, lists off a long series of crimes and acts of terrorism committed by “devout Muslims” and then suggests that these acts are why Muslims deserve to be racially profiled.
Angel, for his part, apologized if the emails offended anyone and insisted they were never intended to be made public.
McDonnell has vowed that, moving forward, the Department will “implement new policies to enhance cultural and ethnic sensitivity,” according to the Spreadit. Those policies will include random audits of the emails accounts of workers within the Department.
— L.A. Times Opinion (@latimesopinion) April 28, 2016
Meanwhile, L.A. is not the only major California city dealing with the aftermath of racist jokes circulating within its law enforcement community. Just days before McDonnell accepted the resignation of his chief of staff over racist emails, racist texts emerged among employees of the San Francisco Police Department.
In documents obtained by the San Francisco Gate, which you can read here, officers identified as Jack Lai, Curtis Liu, and Keith Ybarreta exchanged text messages making liberal use of the N-word and referring to Latinos as “beaners.”
Besides text messages, the officers also exchanged racist memes with each other.
Liu was allowed to take early retirement, while Ybarreta and Lai have both resigned.
In a press conference, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said that releasing the content of the offending text messages to the public was the right thing to do.
“It’s clear that people wanted to have this information as quickly as we could properly provide it. We decided that with the charging of former lieutenant Liu and the end of that criminal investigation, now is the time to just put it out there. And we have nothing to hide.”
Suhr has also promised reforms going forward, including requiring officers within the San Francisco PD to undergo anti-bias training.
Do you think Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s plans for reforms in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department go far enough?
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]