Ex-Georgia Sheriff Quits State Post After Ku Klux Klan Photo Re-Emerges
A former sheriff who served on a Georgia judicial watchdog agency has resigned after the emergence of a picture showing him dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, someone took the picture at a Halloween party while ex-sheriff Roger Garrison was in his twenties.
Garrison, who served as sheriff of Cherokee County in Georgia for more than two decades until retiring five years ago, was named to the Judicial Qualifications Commission's investigation panel on August 19, the AJC reported. He quit a few days later.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission is an independent, constitutionally created state agency that is charged with the investigation and prosecution of claims of judicial misconduct by Georgia judges. Georgia judges are governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct, which establishes standards for the ethical conduct of judges and judicial candidates. Violations of the Code fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission.
The office of Georgia General Assembly House Speaker David Ralston confirmed to the AJC that Garrison has resigned from his position with the monitoring organization.
Sheriff Garrison has resigned from the JQC, according to a spokesman for Ralston. "The speaker will appoint a replacement as soon as practical."
Garrison and an unnamed person are seen holding drinks while dressed in KKK robes and hoods.
The image first emerged in 2012. Garrison said at the time that he was not a member of the KKK and that the picture was shot at a costume party when he and a buddy dressed as characters from a "Blazing Saddles" film sequence.
"I'm not going to deny that was foolish, but what 21- or 22-year-old in this world hasn't made some terrible mistakes?" Garrison previously told Channel 2 Action News about the photo's first appearance.
"Everybody knows everything about my life," he said. "I would just ask that they look at my honor and my integrity and the things we've done for this Sheriff's Office."