Sheriff Roger Garrison dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was 22 years old — and now he wants people to stop talking about it.
A photo obtained by local TV station WSB shows Garrison and a friend in KKK attire, drinking beer.
The Atlanta sheriff insists that the outfit was meant to imitate a scene from the movie Blazing Saddles, and says that any criticism is not fair game. Garrison considers it a stupid move but says that the fury over the picture is “sickening”:
“I don’t deny it was stupid, looking back now,” Garrison told the station, “but there again I say what 21 or 22 year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?”[…]
“I don’t espouse any of that. It’s just insane that politics digresses to this state,” he said.
The release of the photos comes at a bad time for the sheriff, who is facing a fight for re-election next month.
“I don’t think anyone who knows me is going to think anything of this,” Garrison told Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. “But it’s just sickening and it hurts my family.”
To the many black families living in Georgia, the outfit is far from a joke; the Ku Klux Klan are still a functioning white supremacist group with the aim of keeping white people separate from other races.
Garrison’s opponent is staying out of the debate, but did say, “it’s a statement that the suit makes and to call that a joke is — I don’t think a lot of people would laugh.”