Los Angeles County sheriff official resigns over racist messages

3,000 arrests under review after texting scandal (2015)
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Story highlights

  • Sheriff Jim McDonnell says he will use the situation as a "learning opportunity"
  • The Los Angeles Times first reported on the emails by No. 2 official Tom Angel

(CNN)The No. 2 official in the largest sheriff's office in the country, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, has resigned following reports he sent racist and inflammatory emails on his work account a few years ago.

"I took my Biology exam last Friday," the Los Angeles Times quoted one of the Tom Angel's emails as saying. "I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently 'Blacks' and 'Mexicans' were NOT the correct answers."
    Another email included a list of reasons why "Muslim Terrorists are so quick to commit suicide," according to the Times. The list included wearing "towels for hats" as well as "constant wailing from some idiot in a tower" and claims that "you can't wash off the smell of donkey."
    Angel sent the emails while the No. 2 official at the Burbank, California, Police Department, according to the sheriff's department.
    Sheriff Jim McDonnell initially told the Times that the messages were "divisive and unproductive" but that he had no plans to discipline Angel.
    On Thursday, the department provided a statement to CNN saying Angel had offered "profuse and sincere" apologies for the emails.
    "Chief Angel's decision-making and actions in his long prior career with the Sheriff's Department and since his return in 2015 reveal more about his actual character and typical good judgment than the instances from four years prior currently reported in the media," it said.
    By Sunday, however, McDonnell had announced that Angel had offered his resignation and he had accepted it.
    "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," McDonnell said in a post on the department's Facebook page. "I intend to turn this situation into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel."
    In an interview with the Times, Angel said he meant no harm with the emails.
    "Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn't have forwarded," the Times quoted Angel as saying. "I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes."
    The situation follows the resignation of a San Francisco police officer this month after reports emerged that he had exchanged racist and homophobic text messages.
    That incident follows a similar texting scandal in the department a year ago in which 14 officers were implicated in sending or receiving offensive texts.