He’s not sorry he sent them, because according to him, “everyone” sends inappropriate work emails. He is, however, sorry he got caught.
An aide at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office who was busted sending racist messages via his work email offered a weak apology this past Wednesday, sparking an outcry from advocacy groups
Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s chief of staff, Tom Angel, seemed to be more remorseful that his offensive sense of humor went public, versus being apologetic for his racist emails that made a mockery of Blacks, Mexicans, and Muslims.
Angel minimized the racist emails to the Los Angeles Times, saying “Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn’t have forwarded. I apologize if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes.”
The fact that Angel seems to think the issue at hand isn’t the content in the emails, but the fact they went public, suggests that Angel, for whatever reason, thinks this behavior is acceptable behind closed doors–which really makes you wonder about the company culture at his place of employment.
Because, no, actually most of us don’t do things like that because a) we are trying to be decent human beings, not racist jerks and b) we would like, you know, I don’t know, maybe get fired?!
Angel’s emails, sent in 2012 and 2013, made jokes at the expense of various minority groups. One such email was a list of reasons why “Muslim terrorists are quick to commit suicide,” with reasons being “constant wailing from some idiot in a tower” (referring to the athan, the call to prayer), and “your wife smells worse than your donkey.”
He also discussed the infamous “72 virgins in Heaven” myth with a co-worker.
Other crude messages made fun of African-Americans, Mexicans, and women. Angel, who describes himself as Mexican, didn’t seem to be the original author of the emails, but was definitely forwarding them and passing them on.
If you want to read disgusting and derogatory stereotypes, you can see the emails for yourself here.
Meanwhile, apologist Sheriff Jim McDonell said that he was concerned about the tone of Angel’s emails, but made it clear he wouldn’t subject Angel to any disciplinary measures because the emails happened when Angel worked for another department.
In his statement, which basically let Angel off the hook, said the following:
“Although his judgment in this situation is of concern to members of the Sheriff’s Department, no one is more distressed about it than Chief Angel himself. His apologies for this uncharacteristic act have been profuse and sincere.
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. Although there is no doubt that such instances, if occurring within the Sheriff’s Department, would result in disciplinary action, there is also no doubt that Chief Angel understands and respects that fact.
The sharing of non-work-related material on a police agency computer is ill-advised, and is always of serious concern if the material contains disrespectful commentary, whether joking or serious, about such things as ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.”
Yes. Poor Chief Angel. Poor, poor Chief Angel.
Haroon Manjlai, a spokesman for the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, says the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has “a great history of promoting a culture of respect.” However, he (rightfully) characterized Angel’s apology as “disappointing.
CAIR wasn’t the only group who was exceedingly disappointed by the pseudo-apology. The president of the NAACP’s LA chapter said the emails show Angel is unfit for the job.
NAACP leader Minnie Hadley-Hempstead said, “In the United States, our population looks like all the other countries’ populations put together. The public you serve is from all parts of the world. If you cannot get past that, you should not be a public servant. If this person has passed on that kind of information, he should not be in the sheriff’s department. If something like that had come past my desk, I certainly would not pass it on.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Public Affairs Council said that McDonnell’s inaction may further damage the public’s confidence in the department, citing the general population’s growing mistrust of police.
“Holding Mr. Angel accountable for his actions by demonstrating a zero tolerance policy for hate and bigotry is critical for the LA Sheriff’s Department to maintain public trust, especially in the face of the growing climate of bigotry and racism we are witnessing across the country,” said Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council president, in a statement.
Ironically enough, at the time Angel sent the emails, he was helping the Burbank police force recover from a federal investigation regarding excessive force and racism. After five years with the Burbank police, he then rejoined the sheriff’s department in 2015.
Sounds like he was definitely the guy for the job…or not.