A top Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
official forwarded emails with jokes containing derogatory stereotypes of
Muslims, blacks, Latinos, women and others from his work account during his
previous job with the Burbank Police Department, it was reported today.
Tom Angel, Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s chief of staff, sent the emails in
2012 and 2013 when he was the No. 2 police official in Burbank, hired to reform
a department reeling from allegations of police brutality, racism and sexual
harassment, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing city records.
“I took my Biology exam last Friday,” said one of the forwarded emails
obtained under the state’s public records law, according to the newspaper. “I
was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently “Blacks” and
“Mexicans” were NOT the correct answers.”
Another email 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 told The Times he did not mean to demean anyone and said it was
unfortunate his work emails could be obtained under the state’s records laws.
Asked about the “Biology exam” email making light of high incarceration rates
in some minority communities, he described himself as Mexican.
“I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the
public to have seen these jokes,” he told the newspaper.
McDonnell told The Times he was disappointed by the emails but he had no
immediate plans to discipline Angel even though “it’s a shame the whole
thing happened at all”
After viewing the emails at the request of The Times, local Muslim civil
rights advocates criticized Angel, saying the messages perpetuate dangerous
biases that all Muslims are terrorists.
In a meeting with McDonnell and Angel on Monday, Salam Al-Marayati,
president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, sought assurances that
sheriff’s officials are not unfairly targeting Muslim communities. Angel should
be disciplined and the Sheriff’s Department should meet with community groups
and hold cultural awareness seminars for its staff, Al-Marayati said, according
to The Times