Jackson’s parents skeptical of tapes, support call for investigation – AP

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Michael Jackson’s parents skeptical of tapes, support call for investigation JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer Thursday, January 1, 2004 (01-01) 00:01 PST SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Audio and videotapes portraying sheriff’s deputies treating Michael Jackson with courtesy during his arrest don’t tell the full story, according to the entertainer’s parents, who say they look forward to the investigation promised by authorities. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson called a news conference Wednesday to defend his deputies’ actions during Jackson’s Nov. 20 arrest and to say he had asked the state attorney general to conduct an independent investigation of Jackson’s claims that he was “manhandled.” “He was in no way manhandled or abused,” Anderson told reporters, adding he would seek to have Jackson charged with filing a false police report if the entertainer’s allegations aren’t substantiated. Anderson also released audio and videotapes indicating Jackson was treated respectfully by deputies and thanked them for that. One video showed Jackson shaking hands with the deputies who met him at Santa Barbara Airport when he arrived from Las Vegas on Nov. 20. The deputies then handcuffed Jackson and put him in a car for a trip to the county jail, where he was booked for investigation of child molest. He has declared his innocence. In an audio recording from the car, Jackson could be heard complaining that the handcuffs hurt. An officer advised him to “scoot forward a little bit,” and later asked him, “Is that OK for you, Mr. Jackson?” “It’s wonderful, thank you. Thank you very much,” Jackson replies. The entertainer is also heard whistling and humming to himself at one point. Jackson’s parents expressed skepticism about the tapes in a statement issued Wednesday night. “The tapes do not address any of the allegations that Michael made but only paint a portrait of what the sheriff’s men did when the cameras were on them, not what they did when no one was looking,” Joseph and Katherine Jackson said. “We look forward to a further investigation when all the facts come out in due course.” Also Wednesday, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced he had ordered his office to investigate whether Jackson’s rights were violated. In a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast Sunday on CBS, Jackson said he was manhandled while in custody and locked in a feces-smeared restroom for 45 minutes after he asked to use the facilities. He showed what he said was a bruise on his right arm and said his shoulder was dislocated. Anderson said Jackson was not put in a restroom, but a cell designed to hold seven prisoners and equipped with a toilet. He said it had been cleaned just before Jackson arrived. “At no time during this process did Mr. Jackson complain of any injury incurred during the course of the arrest or mistreatment by jail staff,” the sheriff said. TV news cameras also recorded Jackson waving with both arms to fans as he left the jail. “I think Mr. Jackson has seriously hurt his credibility,” Anderson said. Jackson attorney Mark Geragos said his client “absolutely” stands by his allegations, adding that the idea of seeking charges accusing the entertainer of filing a false police report shows the Sheriff’s Department’s knowledge of the law is flawed. “We not only welcome an investigation by the attorney general of California, but will ask that the entire case from the inception be investigated by that office,” he said. Geragos said an expanded probe should look into why Santa Barbara County authorities discounted a February probe by Los Angeles child welfare officials who found no wrongdoing in Jackson’s relationship with the alleged victim in the molest case. “The deliberate disregard of the findings of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services — and closure of the case as totally unfounded by that agency — seriously hurts the credibility of the Santa Barbara County sheriff,” the attorney said. One legal expert praised the attorney general’s decision to investigate. “It’s the only way to clear up what happened and I’m not sure they can ever really clear up what happened. They don’t have the entire time on videotape,” said Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson. She also questioned whether Jackson could be charged with making a false report even if his accusations aren’t substantiated. “I think it’s a stretch to say that his verbal complaints in an interview are the same as a formally filed complaint that would expose him to criminal liability,” said Levenson, a former federal prosecutor. She said a recent state Supreme Court ruling found that someone filing a formal complaint can be charged with a misdemeanor if the complaint is false, but the court also ruled that wouldn’t apply to casual speech. Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/01/01/state0301EST0001.DTL

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