VIDEO: California Man Detained by Police, Ticketed — Because He Was Juggling


Santa Cruz, CA — The list of things in the United States to do that are illegal is ever increasing at an absurd rate. From walking across the street to riding a bicycle, ordinances across the nation, enforced through the barrel of a gun, continue to cause undue pain and suffering for otherwise innocent Americans on a daily basis. Yet another asinine ban in California has exposed this ridiculousness once more, as an innocent man was detained and ticketed by police for the dangerously criminal act — of juggling.

On Saturday, reporters with The Jones/Skelton Report, Joff and Alex, out of Santa Cruz, filmed police citing a man for juggling on the sidewalk. When Alex asked the officer if he was really citing the man for this non-offense, the officer confirmed that he was indeed citing the man for juggling — because throwing balls to yourself is banned.

But is it?

When Alex asks the officer if juggling is banned, the officer rattles off the following Santa Cruz Municipal Code: 9.50. — which he says specifically bans juggling. However, upon reading the actual code, it appears that subsection e, specifically states that juggling is allowed.

In Santa Cruz, it is illegal to throw things in the air, (not kidding) including but not limited to footballs, hackysacks, baseballs, beach balls, Frisbees, or other similar devices, or liquid substance or otherwise cause any object or substance to be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled or to become airborne. See what we mean?

However, in subsection e, it appears that juggling IS allowed.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (d), individual bubble street performers and individual jugglers who otherwise comply with all applicable statutes and ordinances are authorized to blow bubbles and juggle in the C-C, C-N, C-B, CBD and R-T zoning districts. When in the judgment of the director of parks and recreation or the police chief, or their respective designees, said bubble-blowing or juggling activity will materially interfere with pedestrian use of the sidewalk or attract crowds which will create such interference, the city may require a bubble street performer or juggler to obtain a non-commercial event permit from the city as a condition to continuing or undertaking a bubble or juggling performance. This subsection shall not be construed to authorize hackysack activity in the referenced zone districts.

So, while it appears that it is illegal to throw just about anything in the city of Santa Cruz — juggling, according to the ordinance, seems just fine. Even though this officer is seen detaining and citing the innocent juggler, who said in the video that juggling is how he makes his living, the officer is cordial and nice.

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However, therein lies the problem. This officer is a nice guy, but as he is just doing his job, enforcing arbitrary laws that extort money from people for the non-crime of juggling, his niceness is moot as the end result is the same — an innocent man trying to make a living in a manner that causes absolutely no harm to anyone, is persecuted, robbed, and put out of business — by this nice officer.

h/t The Jones/Skelton Report

  • Phil Freeman

    A citationis a commercial presentment, same as any other bill you get. Go to court, and demand the original documents be produced of the original agreement bearing your authorization signature consenting to the collection activity. Case dismissed!

  • Heather Soper

    It would never surprise me if breathing was banned next and you were fined if you did.

    • A1701

      no, as long as you pay your Oxygen bill you’ll be just fine

      • Heather Soper

        Yes, sounds about right! 🙂

  • Phil Freeman

    Solutions are what matter all else is bullshit and a waste of time and energy!

  • James Latham

    These laws were made because of people who are out of control on the beaches and playing in streets. Always have to be a few that ruin it for the rest.

    • IceTrey

      Then just make a law about obstructing traffic, foot or vehicle.

  • Rick Tankersley

    “This officer is a nice guy, but as he is just doing his job, enforcing arbitrary laws that extort money from people for the non-crime of juggling, his niceness is moot as the end result is the same —”

    A “Nice guy”, No doubt there are some deadly poisons that taste good when you put them in your mouth. This is just an illustration that there is no law nor ordinance, so corrupt, that, a man, who has prostituted his soul to his masters, won’t enforce.

    • Matt Agorist

      That was my point Rick. Enforcing arbitrary state decrees without question negates the niceness as the end result is the same. It is a shame that otherwise good people do not see the harm in unqestioning obedience to the state — no matter morality.

      • Guy

        I lived in S.C. for a long time, witnessing the fact of street performers taking over the Boardwalk and Main Street areas, all hustling for nickels and dimes, to the point of it becoming a zoo and nuisance both for the merchants and people as well. Hence no doubt, the ordinance to enforce some sort of control over it.

        But I gotta say, this officer reminds me of Officer Bubbles. Remember the cop who arrested a young girl who was blowing soap bubbles, threatening her with violence, arrest and assault, if one of the bubbles landed on him ! It did and he arrested her, taking her to jail for it. Only that asshole was not smiling when he put the cuffs on her, preferring to be a frowning shit head cop on a ego/power trip, as he was doing it !

        I’ve seen dog’s smiling and wagging there tails too, just befor they ripped into your leg ! Just like this cop was.

        • Nishi

          Santa Cruz citizen here, and I agree with your first paragraph. Downtown and a few other areas turn into a kind of Burning Man 365 days a year without these ordinances.

          • Guy

            I use to enjoy Capitola on quiet weekend mornings, sipping a cup of joe, at a outside table, people watching. That was untill the street hawkers moved in bag and baggage. It went from nice to real stinky, pdq. Same as the beach, taking a walk and stepped in dog caca, barefooted. Then the S.J. ganges moved in, haven’t been back since !

  • Mike

    Sociopaths will smile while they kill you also!

    • AJ

      And if those sociopaths happen to be cops, they’ll congratulate each other with fist bumps and high fives after they kill you.

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  • Peter Mc Conville

    the cop was sent out to shut it down…..someone complained??????????

  • Jeff Pearce Sr.

    Govt’s write laws. Laws are intended to control the “subjects” behavior and attitudes. Blame the people of this local govt as they have the govt they deserve.

  • Rogue cops cost us money

    The cop is an asshole period. It is called discretion. He obviously rather be an asshole than objective officer.

  • IceTrey

    Hey he was out if THE ZONE! When you are out of THE ZONE all bets are off. Your life hangs by a thread.

  • Blaine

    What’s wrong with a warning? Even if these ordinances have a purpose, there is no need to make it punitive without cause. In all likelihood if this man does not have a history, the judge is going to dismiss anyway (adjourn in contemplation of dismissal). And if not, the judge and cop are complete assholes to hit this guy with a fine on his first go around.

  • Ibcamn

    idiot cops doing their normal retarded duty….cops are criminals.

  • Free_Willey

    Unable to verify source. No video on TFTP or youtube. TFTP please verify video content before posting.