Santa Barbara authorities have denied Michael Jackson‘s allegations he was mistreated during his arrest Nov. 20, The Associated Press reports.
In Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview, Jackson told Ed Bradley he was “manhandled” while in custody and locked in a feces-smeared restroom for 45 minutes after he asked to use the facilities. The pop singer also displayed what he said was a bruise on his right arm which he claimed he received from the handcuffs.
“My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It’s hurting very badly. I’m in pain all the time,” Jackson said in the interview. “It’s very swollen. … It keeps me from sleeping at night.”
In response, Reuters reports Sheriff Jim Anderson of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office addressed the allegations in a press conference Wednesday, showing a tape of the 45-year-old pop singer being taken into custody inside an airport hanger and excerpts of an audiotape made while Jackson was riding in the police car.
On the audiotape Jackson initially tells deputies that his handcuffs were “a little tight,” but later assures them that he is “wonderful, thank you” and can be heard whistling, singing and humming during the ride, Reuters reports. The deputies can be heard asking Jackson several times if he was comfortable and advising the entertainer how to sit in the car seat to avoid discomfort from the handcuffs.
The videotape shows Jackson stepping off his private plane with attorney Mark Geragos and having a discussion with authorities before he is placed into the car, Reuters reports.
“Michael Jackson was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy during his arrest, transport and booking and release by all members of the department,” Anderson said. “He was in no way manhandled or abused.”
Anderson, who did not take questions from reporters, noted that the entire booking process lasted only 63 minutes and said the jail bathroom had been cleaned shortly before Jackson asked to use it. He said the bruises shown on Jackson in pictures provided to news organizations by the singer were well above the area where he had been handcuffed. The tape also showed Jackson thanking one of the detectives who escorted him there as the singer left the jail as well as Jackson waving to the crowd with the arm that he said was injured.
“I think Mr. Jackson has seriously hurt his credibility,” Anderson said.
Still, the sheriff is asking for Jackson‘s complaint to be investigated “thoroughly and completely” by the state attorney general. “I am accepting the extremely serious allegations made by Mr. Jackson as a formal citizen complaint against members of the Santa Barbara’s sheriff’s department,” Anderson said.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told Reuters that at Anderson’s request, he had asked investigators from his office to look into the Jackson arrest and whether the entertainer’s civil rights had been violated.
“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 review all of the facts before reaching a conclusion,” Lockyer said in a statement.
Anderson said that if the probe vindicated the conduct of the Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies, he would ask that Jackson be charged with filing a false report of police misconduct, Reuters reports.