A jury took about two hours on Sept. 11 to decide that the freelance journalist was acting legally at the scene of a fatal accident near Route 67 and Rockhouse Road on May 25, 2012. He was not allowed near the scene to film because he lacked San Diego Police media credentials and, according to detectives, he challenged them to arrest him. Deputies arrested him on suspicion "resisting, obstructing or delaying" an officer.
This is part of an ongoing campaign that Playford has waged against what he alleges is "government control over media." His Youtube channel, NewsNowSanDiego, is full of videos of his confrontations with law enforcement over his right to film in public.
Playford was granted a press pass by the San Diego Police Department in April of this year. But, he told Patch earlier in the year that he wants the whole press pass program removed because government agencies should be issuing them.
“I want the press credential [process] removed,” he said. “I want justice to finally be served, and I want the FBI and the state Attorney General’s Office to get off their asses and do what they need to do. … It’s a federal crime what [the police and Sheriff’s Department] are doing.”
An Associated Press article on press credential issues featured Playford, who has alleged violations of constitutional rights to a free press and against illegal search and seizure.
“Playford is often among the first to arrive on fast-breaking stories, pitching his work to news organizations,” the AP reported last month. “Playford, a house painter from suburban Ramona who turned to journalism in 2007, has clashed repeatedly with law enforcement officers and had equipment seized after police refused to renew his credential in 2010.”
The AP also noted that a San Diego jury convicted him a year ago “of a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer at the scene of a bomb threat at an office of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa. Prosecutors say he ignored officers’ orders to move. They knocked a cell phone out of his hand, fearing it was a remote detonator, and he cursed them as he was taken into custody.”