Gibson outburst ‘was covered up’

Allegations that police in Malibu tried to cover up an anti-Semitic outburst by Mel Gibson are to be investigated by an independent review body.

The actor and director was stopped for alleged drunk driving early on Friday. A bottle of tequila was reportedly found on the back seat of his car.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that Mr Gibson had been pulled over while speeding at 87mph (140km/h) and arrested “without incident”.

But according to a website, the arresting officer’s original report said: “Gibson blurted out anti-Semitic remarks about ‘f***ing Jews’ [and] yelled out ‘The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,’ then asked: ‘Are you a Jew?’ ”

Mr Gibson, 50, who directed the controversial film The Passion of the Christinterpreted by some as blaming the Jews for the execution of Jesus — has already apologised for his “despicable” behaviour.

However, the apology was overshadowed by the publication of a section of the arresting officer’s handwritten report. The extract, on, suggested that the original report had been heavily edited.

James Mee, the arresting officer, wrote that Mr Gibson’s behaviour was highly emotional from the moment he pulled him over. His report says: “Gibson angrily stated . . . ‘My life is f***ed’ . . . [and] became fixated on his notoriety and the concern that this incident was going to be publicised. In order to calm Gibson’s concerns, I directed [him] to the back seat of the patrol car, telling him that, if he remained co-operative, I would interview him without handcuffing.”

At this point Mr Gibson appears to have attempted to flee.Deputy Mee wrote: “Gibson bolted . . . as he said ‘I’m not going to get in the car’.”

The officer caught Mr Gibson, who stopped resisting but is reported to have begun verbally abusing and threatening the officer, saying: “You motherf***er. I’m going to f*** you. You’re going to regret you ever did this to me.” The tirade allegedly continued inside the car, where the anti-Semitic outburst allegedly took place.

Mike Gennaco, head of the Office of Independent Review, told the Los Angeles Times that an investigation would begin today into the apparent editing of the report. “All that stuff about favourable treatment is something that needs to be looked at,” he said. “I’d like to see if there was a legitimate law enforcement reason for asking that the report be altered.”

He added that he would also look into Mr Gibson’s financial links to the department. In 2002 Mr Gibson served as a “celebrity representative” for the Star Organisation, which provides financial aid to the children of Sheriff’s Department officers killed while on duty.

Sheriff Lee Baca told the newspaper there was no cover up, saying: “Our job is not to [focus] on what [Mr Gibson] said. It’s to establish his blood-alcohol level when he was driving and proceed with the case.”

Mr Gibson issued a lengthy apology over the weekend.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Times, USA
July 31, 2006
Chris Ayres in Los Angeles

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday July 31, 2006.
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