San Diego Photojournalist Handcuffed after Mother Falsely Accuses him of Perversion

San Diego beach


San Diego photojournalist J.C. Playford, who has been arrested, handcuffed, detained and harassed numerous times over the years for video recording in public, was once again handcuffed and detained.

This time, on suspicion of being a pedophile after a presumptuous mother accused him of video recording her son on a public beach Sunday afternoon.

Not that there is a law against that, but Playford was actually video recording her dog who had become unleashed, attacked one dog, then attempted to attack a second dog on Cardiff Beach where only leashed dogs are allowed.

“I told her, ‘one would think that after that, somebody would take their dog off the beach,'” he explained in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime .

“She turned to me and said, “how do I know you’re not a pervert?'”

The woman alerted authorities, who then proceeded to harass him, demanding he provide his identification.

When he only provided his name and pointed to his press badge, refusing to provide his date of birth, they ended up handcuffing him for an hour in which they searched through his video camera, realizing that he had not recorded anything perverted regarding the child.

Nevertheless, he was cited for obstructing and ordered off the beach for the remainder of the day.

Meanwhile, the woman with the aggressive dog who falsely accused him was allowed to remain.

At one point in the second video, one of the cops tells him it is illegal to video record children on a public beach without the consent of their parents, referring to California Penal Code 647, which states nothing about recording children on public beaches but about secretly recording people who have an expectation of privacy.

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“They humiliated me,” Playford said. “They mocked me and called me a pedophile while I was in handcuffs surrounded by people.”



About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment.He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Kellen Lawler

    I know there are many who are much more versed in law than I here. I do have this question…If the following is US law….. why then are ALL cops who break this law not being charged?



    Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting
    under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right
    or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United

    For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law”
    include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials
    within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the
    bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done
    while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the
    performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under
    color of law within the meaning of this statute include police
    officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as
    well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and
    others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary
    that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color,
    religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of
    the victim.

    The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a
    life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances
    of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

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