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Sheriff's Department Denies Jackson Abuse Allegations

Aired December 31, 2003 - 14:04   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We'll take you back to Santa Barbara. You see the press standing by for this man, Sheriff Jim Anderson, as he approaches the microphone and will discuss the Michael Jackson case. Let's go ahead and listen in.
SHERIFF JIM ANDERSON, SANTA BARBARA CO.: Good morning. First off, I want to thank everyone for being here this morning.

During a recent interview that aired on network television on the evening of the 28th of December, Michael Jackson made serious allegations of misconduct against members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Specifically Mr. Jackson claimed that his shoulders had been dislocated as a result of being manhandled very roughly by members of the sheriff's department during his arrest and book process.

Additionally Mr. Jackson accused the arresting officers of intentionally injuring his wrists when they hand cuffed him at the time of the arrest. He produced a photograph that supposedly depicted an injury to his right arm that was as a result of the handcuffing by the arresting officers.

Mr. Jackson also alleged that during the booking process, he had been locked in the jail bathroom for 45 minutes, and that the bathroom had fecal matter on the walls, floor and ceiling.

Mr. Jackson was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy during his arrest, transport and booking and release by all members of this department. He was in no way manhandled or abused.

His treatment by this department can only be described as professional. I'm shocked and troubled by his allegations.

When Mr. Jackson was taken into custody, he was told by the arresting officers he would be handcuffed behind his back as part of a standard arrest procedure. The handcuffs were double locked by the officer to prevent them from further tightening.

After Mr. Jackson seated himself in the car, he told the officers that the handcuffs hurt. He went onto say, "They were tight aren't they?" In response, he was advised by the officers how to sit in the car seat during the transport in order to limit any discomfort caused by the handcuffs. In fact, the arrest and transport of Mr. Jackson were documented by way of video and audiotapes.

Additionally on two separate occasions, during the transport to the jail the arresting officer asked Mr. Jackson how he was doing. On the first occasion Mr. Jackson responded by saying that he was fine. When he was asked the second time, he responded by saying he was wonderful. He was also whistling and singing to himself during transport.

It should be noted that these remarks were captured on an audio recording. Upon his arrival to the jail, the handcuffs were removed within approximately 40 seconds. The position of the handcuffs at this time were noted by jail staff, and were consistent with proper handcuffing procedures.

From the time of Mr. Jackson's arrival to the jail to his departure, approximately 63 minutes had elapsed. The entire book process was personally supervised by 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 jail staff.

Furthermore, jail staff present during the process observed nothing in the way of injuries present on Mr. Jackson's person. Mr. Jackson's attorney, who is present during a portion of the book procedure, made no mention to jail staff of any problems regarding Mr. Jackson's well-being.

At one point, Mr. Jackson requested the use of the rest room facilities. He was escorted to a holding cell in order to facilitate his request. This particular holing cell was 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 had been cleaned by a work crew just prior to Mr. Jackson's request.

Upon Mr. Jackson's release, he thanked one of the detectives who escorted him out of jail. This can also be heard on the recording of the audio tape.

Mr. Jackson was seen waving at the crowds gathered outside the jail during his departure. This activity is inconsistent with Mr. Jackson's claims of injuries incurred during the arrest and booking.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is a professional organization made up of dedicated men and women who deal with difficult and challenging situations on a daily basis.

While the service of the search warrant at Neverland and subsequent booking and arrest of Mr. Jackson has generated unprecedented media attention and public interest, Mr. Jackson was afforded courteous and professional treatment consistent with the standards of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

I am accepting this extremely serious allegation made by Mr. Jackson as a formal citizen's complaint against members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department. I have requested the state attorney general's office conduct a thorough and complete investigation of these allegations.

Should this investigation prove the charges of Mr. Jackson to be groundless, I will request the criminal charges of false report of police officer misconduct be pursued against him.

I would now like to play a portion of the videotape that was recorded at the time of Mr. Jackson's arrest. Please, pay close attention to the demeanor of the arresting officers. Clearly, at no time was Mr. Jackson manhandled by the officers.

It should also be noted that the handcuffs were secured on the lower wrists of Mr. Jackson and not the area depicted in the photograph presented.



ANDERSON: At this time, I'd like to play an excerpt to the audio recording to which I earlier referred. These excerpts will demonstrate the helpful demeanor of the officers during the transport to the jail.

Mr. Jackson can be heard telling the officers that he is fine and wonderful in response to their inquiries. Mr. Jackson can also be heard whistling and humming to himself during the transport. Lastly, Mr. Jackson be heard thanking a detective as he leaves the jail.


MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: These things hurt. They're tight, aren't they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just, if you want to scoot forward a little bit. There you go.

Put some air on here for us.

JACKSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll wait for you guys to pull now the front. Where are we exiting at there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, just a second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're driving right through here. OK. OK.

JACKSON: Just put some air on, please.


JACKSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that OK for you, Mr. Jackson?

JACKSON: It's wonderful, thank you. Thank you very much.

(WHISTLING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We're almost there. Are you OK, Mr. Jackson?

JACKSON: Yes, fine.



ANDERSON: This case is not about officer misconduct, this case is about being advocates for child and adult victims of a crime. And I think Mr. Jackson has seriously hurt his credibility.

Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, as we talked about earlier, that will conclude this press conference. We'll go ahead, we do have copies...

COLLINS: All right, you have been listening to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson in response to the allegations that Michael Jackson has made about manhandling during the booking or arresting procedure in his case.


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