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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Video: San Francisco Cop Arrests San Francisco Public Defender

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 4:20 PM

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The Public Defender’s Office today released a rather unexpected video of local cop detaining a deputy defender at the Hall of Justice, claiming she was "resisting arrest."

San Francisco police officers handcuffed attorney Jami Tillotson for one hour after she allegedly interfered between two suspects and Inspector Brian Stansbury. One of the suspects is her client. 

“I was, needless to say, shocked,” Tillotson said. “I was arrested for what public defenders do every day. They acted outside the law.”


After releasing the video to the media, SFPD called its own press conference, defending the officer's actions. Officer Albie Esparza said Stansbury had an obligation and right to conduct an investigation, and Tillotson was hindering that.

“The sergeant acted appropriately as far as we can tell.”

Tillotson’s client had just appeared in court on the second floor for a misdemeanor shoplifting charge when the officer started questioning him, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said. According to the video,the Police Inspector was also attempting to snap photos of the suspects, to which Tillotson objected. He threatened to arrest her for resisting arrest. She willingly put her hands behind her back and was escorted away.

While in a holding cell at the Southern Station, Stansbury, who, incidentally, is being sued by a black SFPD officer who accused him of racial profiling, resumed photographing and questioning her client and another man without an attorney present.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Adachi said. “If this kind of conduct is right there at the Hall of Justice, I can only imagine what's happening out there on the streets.”

Adachi and Police Chief Greg Suhr spoke over the phone after the incident, with Suhr agreeing to hand over the police report and the office agreeing to release the cell phone video.The case is pending further investigation and will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office, Esparza said.

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