musicNEWS: Sheriff Refutes Michael Jackson Police Brutality Claim, Calls for State Probe

01-01-04 Keavin
On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff called for a state probe into the police abuse allegations made by Michael Jackson and also threatened criminal charges against the singer if the investigation finds his claims to be false. 

During an interview on “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday night, Jackson claimed that he was mistreated by deputies when was a arrested and booked. Jackson claimed that deputies manhandled him, injuring his arm and dislocating his shoulder, he further claimed that he was locked in a jail bathroom covered in feces for 45 minutes. 

Sheriff Jim Anderson held a news conference on Wednesday and strongly denied Jackson’s allegations and called for a state probe. He played audio and video tape taken of Jackson during his captivity that refuted Jackson’s claims and said that the pop singer was treated with "the utmost respect and courtesy."

"His treatment by this department can only be described as professional," Anderson said. "The entire booking process was personally supervised by the jail command staff. At no time during this process did Mr. Jackson complain of any injury incurred during the course of the arrest or mistreatment by the jail staff."

The audio tape taken of Jackson during his ride to the jail had the pop singer whistling and humming and telling a deputy that he was “wonderful”. 

Anderson told reporters that he requested an investigation into Jackson’s allegations be undertaken by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. He added that he would consider filing additional criminal charges against the pop singer for filing a false report of police brutality, if the probe proved the allegations were untrue. 

Lockyer agreed to undertake the investigation but warned, “I cannot predict when our investigation will be completed, but we will work as quickly as possible to conduct a thorough and fair investigation . . . and ensure that appropriate action is taken as necessary". 

The sheriff also addressed the allegation that Jackson made about being held in a bathroom covered by feces. Anderson said that Jackson "was escorted to a holding cell designed to hold up to seven individuals and had a toilet located in one area. He was alone in the holding cell for approximately 15 minutes."

"The cell," Anderson added, "had been cleaned by a work crew just prior to Mr.  Jackson's request."

Jackson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, issued a statement to the Associated Press and said that he welcomes the investigation and that his clients stands by the allegations of police brutality. He added that sheriff's release of the audio and video tapes was illegal. 

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