LOS ANGELES – Santa Barbara County authorities yesterday tore into Michael Jackson's (search) stunning allegations of police brutality by the cops who busted him last month.
The self-proclaimed King of Pop and accused child molester told "60 Minutes," in an interview aired Sunday, that sheriff's deputies roughed him up and degraded him during his Nov. 20 arrest.
Deputies shot down Jackson's claims, and said that the singer's own lawyer and bodyguards thanked them for their professionalism.
"Mr. Jackson was treated with courtesy and professionalism throughout the arrest and booking process," according to a statement posted yesterday afternoon on Sheriff James Anderson's official Web site, sbsheriff.org.
"Both his attorney and his personal security thanked the Sheriff's Department for the level of cooperation and professionalism demonstrated throughout the process."
Jackson's defense lawyer Mark Geragos (search) could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday.
Retired Sheriff Jim Thomas - head of the department's 1993 child molestation probe of Jackson and a confidant of DA Thomas Sneddon (search) — picked apart claims that investigators manhandled the pop icon.
"Where does this come from? It's ridiculous. None of this was challenged by ['60 Minutes'] and you don't see Mark Geragos raising hell. That tells you something," Thomas told the New York Post.
"I think last night, he [Jackson] wanted to be the victim. He wanted to be the victim, not the kid [Jackson's young accuser]."
Jackson made a series of serious allegations in the Sunday interview, detailing how he was mistreated while in custody:
— Jackson claimed detectives hurt his wrists when they handcuffed him, and now The Gloved One is in so much pain he can't sleep at night.
But county authorities and Thomas said detectives videotaped Jackson's by-the-book arrest at the Santa Barbara Airport on Nov. 20.
"He was placed in the back seat of the car and instructed how to sit," Thomas said. "Handcuffs can be uncomfortable if you lean on them. The detective told him how to sit in the back seat so that the cuffs would not be uncomfortable."
"He [Jackson] was asked during the 10-minute ride from the airport to the Sheriff's Department by a senior investigator if the cuffs were too tight. And he [Jackson] said no," Thomas added.
— In Jackson's most shocking allegation, he said deputies locked him in a disgusting, feces-stained bathroom for 45 minutes and then cruelly mocked him.
Authorities confirmed that Jackson did use the jail bathroom, but said it wasn't nearly as dirty as Jackson claims. Thomas and deputies also said their own videos and media footage of that day's events showed the whole booking process lasted no more than 35 minutes.
The booking was witnessed by about 20 people, including several inmates, Thomas and deputies said.
"It's highly unlikely [Jackson was mistreated] - he was not in the building that long," Thomas said, adding that the department's chief of custody watched "every move" of Jackson's booking.
"There are no bathrooms like that there. Jails don't smell that great, but there would not be a bathroom with stuff like that on the sides and floors."
— The pop star gave "60 Minutes" a photo that shows a deep bruise on his inner-right forearm, where cops allegedly roughly handcuffed him.
Jackson also said deputies dislocated his shoulder during the arrest, even though he flashed a peace sign at TV cameras outside jail and then went on a joy ride hours later, shaking hands with fans on Las Vegas streets.
"I am not saying he did not dislocate his shoulders, but as he walked out of the jail, he raised both shoulders giving peace signs to media," Thomas said. "Both arms; no wince of pain or anything else. It does not connect with me.
"Everything I heard [about the booking] was very smooth. I have talked to the people who where there - it went smooth. And it was quick," Thomas added.
— Jackson was also fuming to "60 Minutes" that deputies trashed his bedroom during their Nov. 18 search, probed into unauthorized rooms and didn't tell him what they took. The King of Pop said he was particularly miffed that deputies ripped up his mattress and poked around his personal office.
Thomas and sheriff's sources said the deputies had a search warrant to search all of Jackson's property, so no room was off-limits.
"In most sex cases, the removal of a portion of a mattress is not unusual for evidence. I am not sure if they took part of it. I would not be surprised," said Thomas, adding that Jackson's camp was given a list of seized items. "Someone was given a list. If they had not, you'd hear Geragos screaming about it."
Deputies raided Jackson's Neverland Ranch just outside Los Olivos, Calif., on Nov. 18, leading to his arrest on suspicion of child molestation two days later. Jackson is due in court next month to answer charges he molested a young boy visiting his mansion in February and March.
The 45-year-old pop icon is free on $3 million bail. He's charged with seven counts of committing lewd acts on a boy under 14 and two counts of using an intoxicating agent, reportedly alcohol, to seduce the boy.
It's the second time Jackson has faced serious allegations of child molestation. Jackson was investigated by Santa Barbara County authorities a decade ago, he was never arrested because the singer's young accuser settled a civil lawsuit with The Gloved One out of court and then refused to help authorities.
In this case, prosecutors claim they have a credible accuser, who hasn't filed a big-dollar civil lawsuit.