In a disarming display, an Atlanta sheriff named Roger Garrison was photographed wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume.
According to NY Daily News, Garrison wore the signature KKK garment to a Halloween party in the mid-1980s.
In the photo, Garrison and a friend can be seen posing cheerily in the hooded white robes, one holding a beer and the other a balloon.
Garrison told the station:
"I don't deny it was stupid, looking back now...but there again I say what 21 or 22 year-old in this world hasn't made some stupid mistakes?"
He maintains he and his friend were dressed up to imitate a scene from Mel Brooks’ comedy classic Blazing Saddles, and says he doesn’t support the white supremacist group.
"I don't espouse any of that. It's just insane that politics digresses to this state," he said.
The release of the photo comes at a bad time for the sheriff, who is facing a fight for re-election next month.
His opponent, David Waters, said he had seen the photos of Garrison in costume last year but did not want to release the photos to media outlets, though he slammed the decision to dress up in Klan attire no matter the circumstances.
"I was shown the photographs back in June of last year and I chose to do nothing," Waters said. "I think the suit represents harm and, regardless of how its displayed, it’s a statement that the suit makes and to call that a joke is - I don't think a lot of people would laugh.”
Garrison will face off against Waters in Georgia's July 31 primary.
That was a pretty stupid choice for a costume, but it was worn out of jest - not hatred. Most importantly, the photos are almost 30 years old. Do you think he should be judged for an outfit he donned a quarter century ago? Tell us what you think.