L.A. Sheriff Chief of Staff Resigns over Anti-Muslim Emails

Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty)
Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty

Tom Angel, chief of staff to Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, announced his resignation Sunday after it was discovered he had forwarded anti-Muslim and racist emails during his previous job with the Burbank Police Department.

The emails date to 2012 and 2013, according to local ABC News affiliate KABC. They included jokes such as the following: “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.” Other emails defended the racial profiling of Muslims for terror prevention.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday, Sheriff McDonnell said:

Very recently I learned that three to four years ago LASD Chief Tom Angel shared inappropriate and unprofessional e-mails with others, during his service as Burbank Police Department Assistant Chief. This incident is one that I find deeply troubling. Chief Angel has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it. I thank him for his many years of service, and wish him and his family well.

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.

In the immediate future, we will be meeting with constituent groups throughout the county 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. We will also examine our current training framework and evaluate our curriculum in these areas to maximize their effectiveness.

In addition, we will assess existing policies and systems for ensuring accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel. For example, we will implement a new system of random audits of the e-mail accounts of Department personnel.

I intend to continue to build on the excellent foundation of community partnerships which the Sheriff’s Department has been creating and strengthening for many years. The law enforcement profession must and can demand the highest standards of professionalism, fairness and constitutional policing – individually and collectively – from its personnel. We are only as effective as the relationships, credibility and trust we have with our community; this is a fundamental point that I and LASD personnel take very seriously.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) describes itself as “the largest Sheriff’s Department in the world, with approximately 18,000 employees.” It is responsible for the county jail system, and for general law enforcement services. It is separate from the more well-known Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), though the two agencies work together.

Sheriff McDonnell recently made news when he blamed 2014’s Proposition 47 for a local spike in crime. Prop 47 reduced some drug felonies to misdemeanors. He said drug treatment programs should have been improved in advance of the new law.

Photo: File

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.