The older, white man was seen photographing children in a public park in Idaho, so it didn’t take long for an overprotective mother to chase him off.
She then called the cops, who in turn alerted the media, who quickly posted articles warning citizens about this dangerous man lurking in the park with his camera, running off after being confronted.
It turns out, the man was just photographing his grandson.
And the only reason he left the park was because the woman was yelling at him.
So police had to redact their statement to the media.
This is how LocalNews8 originally reported the story.
Pocatello Police are warning people of a suspicious man spotted taking pictures of children at Ammon Park.
Police say parents spotted the man photographing their kids, and when they confronted him the man ran off.
He is described as an older white man with white hair and a beard. He was wearing a western-style button-down shirt and blue jeans and was driving a tan/brown van.
If anyone has information about this man, police would like them to call police dispatch at 234-6100.
And this is how they explained it afterward in the updated version.
Lt. Paul Manning said the man in question called in the Pocatello Police Department himself, saying he was at the park taking pictures of his grandson. The man also said that he did not run away, but simply walked away from a woman who had gotten very close to him and was yelling at him. Manning said police are no longer worried about the man and he is not suspicious.
The hysteria of adults photographing children in public has reached epidemic proportions.
Earlier this week, we reported on a New York man who was threatened by a mom’s boyfriend, then warned by cops not to take photos of the woman’s kid, even though it was never proven that he had taken photos of her kid.
And before that, a pair of photographers were told they were not allowed to photograph children swimming in the frog pond at Boston Common, which Boston Common later apologized for on its Facebook page.
And earlier this year, New Jersey lawmakers tried to pass a law that would have made it illegal to photograph children in public without parental consent.
Last year in the United Kingdom, a man was accused of pedophilia for photographing his son in a mall.
In 2008, a UK man was called a “pervert” for photographing his own kids in a park.
If parents are so worried about pedophiles, then they should look within their own families or circle of friends, not the stranger with the camera.
According to Wikipedia, which always cites their research:
Offenders are more likely to be relatives or acquaintances of their victim than strangers. A 2006–2007 Idaho study of 430 cases found that 82% of juvenile sex offenders were known to the victims (acquaintances 46% or relatives 36%).
We have to accept the fact that kids are part of society. If you take them out in public, there’s a chance they might be photographed. Just as any adult might be photographed.
The real issue is how these parents become aggressive towards photographers as we have seen.
I’m not a parent but I know some parents speak boldly about what they would do if they caught somebody photographing their kid.
I can assure them that I would not back down if confronted. I guarantee that. I’ll even wait for the cops to get there while videotaping the whole interaction.
But I do try to avoid photographing kids for this reason. And frankly, unless it’s a good photojournalistic photo (or if I’m with family and friends), I have no desire to photograph kids anyway.
But I will also not be the one to run away if confronted by one of these self-righteous parents.
And I doubt I’m alone.
So only time will tell before one of these parents gets arrested for assault.
Below is a screenshot of the LocalNews8 story in case they also remove it from their site.