"Blacks," "Mexicans" Among Things "Commonly Found in Cells," Say Racist LA Sheriff Emails
So much for "cleaning up" the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
A top official with the notoriously brutal law enforcement agency is under fire this week for racist, sexist and Islamophobic emails he sent in 2012 and 2013, when he was one of the top cops with the nearby Burbank Police Department.
His name is Tom Angel.
Now chief of staff for Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Angel was hired in 2014 as part of a team meant to "clean up" a sheriff's office plagued by a reputation for violence and misconduct, according to the LA Times.
Too bad he regularly forwarded emails that contained quotes like this:
"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."
And there's more where that came from.
The 15-page email dump, which the Times obtained through a public records request and published on Wednesday, also contained forwarded jokes likening Muslims to terrorists, and one ridiculing a "fat girl" for her weight.
A closer look:
"How dumb is dumb?" one email read. "Everyone seems to be wondering why Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide."
The message went on to provide a "list of evidence," which included but was not limited to: "No hot dogs," "no beer," "towels for hats," "You can't wash off the smell of donkey," and "You cook over burning camel shit."
Another email contained a list of violent historical incidents involving Muslims, meant to suggest racial profiling is "common sense" to keep Americans safe.
Yet another joke found a man encountering an overweight waitress, leading to the following exchange:
"A fat girl finally brought out my food after a long wait at my favorite restaurant. She said, 'Sorry about the wait.' I said, 'Don't worry about it, you'll lose it eventually.'"
Angel has since apologized if he "offended" anybody.
"Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn't have forwarded," Angel, who identifies as Mexican, told the Times. "I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes."
McDonnell added he has no plans to discipline Angel at this point, since the emails predated his employment with the sheriff's office. "Everybody's got their own take on humor," McDonnell told the Times. "It's a shame the whole thing happened at all."
But bigger questions remain — like can the people of Los Angeles County trust their sheriffs at all?
The Los County Sheriff's Department has already rattled public faith through its violent and illegal conduct; so frankly, Angel's offensive emails are only the latest in a history of troubling behavior.
Where to begin? In November, two former sheriffs — Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano — were sentenced to six and seven years in prison, respectively, for brutally beating a jail visitor, Gabriel Carrillo, in 2011.
But they were just the tip of the iceberg: Ayala and Luviano were among 18 members of the department charged in 2013 for crimes including civil rights abuses — namely beating inmates — and corruption.
In April, none other than former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, stemming from charges that he and other deputies tried to hide an inmate, Anthony Brown, from federal investigators.
Brown had been feeding the FBI information about brutality and corruption in the LA County jail system. To date, seven deputies besides Tanaka have been convicted under the same federal probe.
And in October, Sheriff's Deputy Jovanni Argueta was arrested and charged with sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl.
You be the judge, America.