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To the shock of almost no one in Hollywood, an official review of Mel Gibson's drunk driving arrest last year found that the actor-director received special celebrity treatment from the Los Angeles County sheriff's office. When Gibson was stopped while speeding and under the influence on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu during the early hours of July 28, 2006, he launched into an anti-Semitic outburst.
"F***g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," he ranted, and then asked sheriff's deputy James Mee (who is Jewish), "Are you a Jew?"
After a lengthy investigation by six attorneys, the sheriff's Office of Independent Review released its findings on Friday that deputies had broken departmental regulations by giving Gibson preferential treatment.
Specifically, Gibson was allowed to leave the Malibu sheriff's station without providing the required palm print, and without signing a statement promising to appear in court. In addition, he was driven by a sheriff's sergeant to retrieve his car form a county compound.
While these actions amounted to only minor infractions of the rules, they "certainly created an image of celebrity justice," said Michael Gennaco, chief attorney for the review board.
As a result, two sergeants received formal reprimands and a jailer was suspended two days without pay.
The review also noted that the sheriff's spokesman put out a misleading statement that the actor had been arrested "without incident" and without mentioning the anti-Semitic outburst, but the board ruled that this did not constitute a violation of policy.
After Gibson's rant was reported by a gossip Web site, the director of the controversial The Passion of the Christ issued an apology.
"Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith," he told a skeptical Jewish community.
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