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Sunday January 23rd, 2022 10:54AM

Ex-sheriff quits watchdog agency after KKK photo questions

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — A former metro Atlanta sheriff has resigned from a state judicial watchdog agency after questions rose about a decades-old photo of him wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.

House Speaker David Ralston appointed former Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison to the state Judicial Qualifications Commission on Aug. 19.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports it asked Ralston's office on Thursday if the speaker was aware of the photo.

“Sheriff Garrison has resigned from the JQC,” Ralston spokesperson Kaleb McMichen later responded, without elaborating. “The speaker will appoint a replacement as soon as practical.”

Garrison declined comment on Friday.

The photo was widely noted when it surfaced in 2012. Garrison said he had no affiliation with the KKK and said he wore the costume to a Halloween party when he was in his early 20s.

“I don’t deny it wasn’t stupid, looking back now, but there again I say what 21- or 22-year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?” Garrison told WSB-TV then.

He said he and a friend wore the KKK costumes to the party as characters from the movie “Blazing Saddles.”

Garrison called the publication of the photo “purely political” because it came during a Republican primary challenge. He won that race and later reelection.

Garrison retired five years ago after more than 20 years as sheriff.

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