Garrison said Friday he regrets the decision he made when he was 21 years old and that the photos were of a costume that was intended to be a spoof on a character from the movie “Blazing Saddles,” a popular motion picture at the time.
“This is by no means a reflection upon my career… or personal beliefs,” Garrison said. “It was a simple, childish Halloween costume party — nothing more, nothing less.”
He said the move feels like a political attack from his opposition, David Waters, a commander with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
“It appears Mr. Waters has sent those photos to the Atlanta media and asked for stories,” Garrison said. “I’m deeply appalled he would stoop to this level (and) that he chooses not to stick to the issues.”
Garrison said he found it especially appalling Waters was trying to make a moral judgment when his challenger has been married five times.
“(He) is not one to be throwing stones at other people,” Garrison said. “It’s clearly an act of desperation on his part and I believe that the voters will respond accordingly. They’re sick of that type of campaigning.”
Garrison said Cherokee County voters know the honor and integrity he has continued to display throughout his 20 years as sheriff.
“It’s just the lowest of the low to try to imply something of that nature from a costume makeup party (that happened) 30 years ago. (Waters) has much greater character issues he needs to explain with his five marriages and lack of commitment,” Garrison said.
In the end, Garrison said he can’t help but take it personally, calling it a “clear, shining example” of Waters’ character.
“I’m thick-skinned, but stuff like this hurts my wife and my son and my parents, that’s what bothers me about it,” Garrison said. “To have family see those things that he puts out and he is attempting to imply, that hurts them and that hurts me.”
Garrison said he did not know who published the photograph.
In the television news report, Waters denied providing the metro media outlet with a copy of the photograph though admitted to seeing the photo in June of last year.
Several attempts to reach Waters were not returned by press time.