CANTON, Ga. -- Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison says he believes the release of some old but embarrassing photos that have surfaced recently of him in a Klu Klux Klan costume at a Halloween party in the 1980s is politically motivated.
"I've been in office 20 years now. My reputation speaks for itself. I don't have a racist bone in my body," Sheriff Garrison said. "I have nothing to do with the Klu Klux Klan -- never have. I know nothing about the organization."
Sheriff Garrison says the photos were taken at a Halloween party more than a quarter century ago. He says the costume was supposed to be an homage to the irreverent Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles. Decades later, Sheriff Garrison says he realizes the costume was in poor taste.
"I apologize to anyone I might have offended," Sheriff Garrison said.
Sheriff's Garrison's challenger in the upcoming election, David Waters, denies he was responsible for leaking the photos to the press.
In a prepared statement, Waters wrote, "I had nothing to do with these photographs being released to the news media or anyone else. The photos in question are something Mr. Garrison will have to deal with, not me. I simply think it was wrong then and still wrong today."