Internal probe launched after deputy's curse-filled outburst caught on video

POWAY, Calif. - A freelance photographer is speaking out after he filmed a curse-laden confrontation with a San Diego County sheriff's deputy.

In the video, a dark Poway sidewalk gives way to light and an outburst. A deputy, seen talking to a neighbor, turns around, lunges forward and shouts, "If you don't turn that [expletive] light off, I'm going to shove it up your [expletive]."

The clip has been gaining buzz on YouTube and other websites, and a sheriff's department spokesperson called the video disappointing and confirmed an internal investigation has been launched.

Team 10 took a closer look, which led to freelance photographer J.C. Playford.

On the night of Jan. 8, Playford was in Poway shooting video as deputies hunted for an armed suspect who had just robbed a Sprint cellphone store.

Although TV crews with lights roamed the scene, Playford said at one point this deputy asked him not to shine a light on him.

Playford ignored him because he said a light is needed to do his job at night, and minutes later, Playford turned it on when a neighbor approached the deputy, sparking the curse-filled rant.

Playford said the deputy stepped on his foot.

"I was scared to death. [He] held me and I couldn't move," said Playford, "He then cursed at me some more and then went back to the civilian."

Moments later, Playford said he filmed the same deputy cursing when he asked a woman to get out of a car.

In the video, shadowy figures are seen next to a car and a male voice can be heard saying, "This ain't a [expletive] joke."

"This is conduct unbecoming [of] an officer if I've ever seen it," said Playford.

"Is this conduct becoming? No," said sheriff's department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.

While Playford's sometimes prickly relationship with law enforcement is documented in his own videos, Caldwell said the matter is being taken seriously because this type of behavior reflects poorly on the entire department.

"This is not who we are, it's not what we want to portray. Our core value is to treat people with dignity and respect … This is not in our policy. We don't do this," said Caldwell.

Caldwell said the veteran officer had several concerns with the light, including safety. He didn't want a spotlight on him with an armed suspect on the loose, according to Caldwell.

The deputy -- whose name has not been released -- remains on the job as the investigation continues.

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