Senior sheriff official in US city of Los Angeles resigns over racist, sexist e-mails

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A senior official at the Los Angeles County sheriff's department resigned on Sunday (May 2) following criticism over e-mails he sent disparaging blacks, Muslims, Latinos and women, the department said in a statement.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he accepted the resignation of his chief-of-staff Tom Angel after the emergence of e-mails he forwarded from his work account while serving as a top police official in Burbank city near Los Angeles in 2012 and 2013.

According to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the e-mails, one message on January 7, 2012 lists a series of terrorist attacks attributed to "devout Muslim male extremists" and says "Muslims, gotta love em can't punish em.......?"

Another e-mail read: "I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently 'Blacks' and 'Mexicans' were NOT the correct answers."

Mr McDonnell said he found the e-mails both "inappropriate and unprofessional" and "deeply troubling.

"Chief Angel has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it," he said, adding he hoped to turn the situation into "a learning opportunity" for all personnel in the sheriff's department.

Officials at the sheriff's office in Burbank could not be reached for comment, but Mr Angel had earlier told the Times he did not mean to embarrass or demean anyone, saying it was unfortunate his work e-mails had not remained private.

"Anybody in the workplace unfortunately forwards emails from time to time that they probably shouldn't have forwarded," Mr Angel told the Times. "I apologise if I offended anybody, but the intent was not for the public to have seen these jokes."

The resignation comes after three San Francisco police officers left their jobs last week after they were found to have sent racist and homophobic text messages and e-mails in which they referred to minorities as "barbarians" and "wild animals."