Lakeside man angry over water district's camera

Posted at 7:29 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 22:29:42-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. - A battle over mud at a Lakeside home has escalated into a fight over privacy and a fear of possible child pornography.

Robert Garrison said he was incensed when he returned to his Lakeside home on Thursday afternoon.

"I look up at my horrible yard and I … 'Is that what I think it is?' There's a 15-foot pole, concreted behind that tree with a camera pointed directly at this door and my niece," Garrison told 10News.

His niece, he said, gets into the play pool almost every day and she often takes off her clothes.

"I wanted to know right away who has access to that camera, who was viewing it right now, what employees installed it, did they have any sexual offenses," said Garrison.

San Diego County sheriff's deputies responded to Garrison's complaint and the camera was taken down.

Lakeside Water District General Manager Brett Sanders told 10News, "We put up a fake camera … to stop a person from vandalizing our property."

10News learned someone was throwing chunks of asphalt onto the service road above Garrison's property, which borders the district property. There’s been friction because of erosion on the hillside. First, it was mud, but now the asphalt road had been deteriorating.

Garrison gestured for the 10News camera: "Now you guys can see in both directions. Nobody can throw asphalt on the road but me, and I've already admitted I'm taking your property and putting it back on. I don't want it on my property, especially asphalt. I don't need the poisons here; don't need the kids playing with it."

Sanders called Garrison's actions an "ugly response and not at any measure justified."

Garrison said he's been talking to an attorney about his right to privacy and if prosecution might be a possibility in regard to child pornography.

10News asked attorney Alex Simpson of California Western School of Law about privacy in this backyard, and Simpson said if someone can look in from neighboring property, there's no reasonable expectation of privacy.

As for child porn, Simpson added, "It's a very weird scenario, but it most likely would not be considered child pornography because the intent was not to create anything criminal but just to record rather innocuous activity."