SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s public defender has released a video showing police arresting a deputy public defender outside a courtroom for intervening in an interaction between police and her client.
The video shows Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson refusing to step aside as a man identified as San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury tries to take a cellphone picture of Tillotson’s client in a hallway at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday.
“I just want to take some pictures, ok? Then he will be free to go,” says Stansbury on the video. Tillotson refuses and Stansbury then tells her she can either step aside or be arrested for resisting arrest, according to the subtitles on the YouTube video.
Tillotson, an 18-year veteran of the public defender’s office, is calm throughout the video and does not resist officers. She continues to assert she is representing her client as she is led away.
According to Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Stansbury arrested Tillotson for refusing to let her client be questioned without the presence of his attorney.
In a press release, Adachi called the arrest ‘outrageous’ and said after Tillotson was led away she was handcuffed to a wall in a holding cell for approximately an hour.
During the time Tillotson was not present, Stanbury photographed and questioned her client and another man who did not have an attorney present, acccording to Adachi.
“Public defenders have a duty to protect the constitutional rights of their clients,” Tillotson said at a press conference Wednesday. “It was surreal to be led away in handcuffs for doing my job, something I do every day.”
“This is not Guantanamo Bay. People have an absolute right to have their attorneys present during questioning,” said Adachi.
San Francisco Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Tillotson was detained for obstructing officers and said the incident was an active criminal investigation.
Stansbury is one of three SFPD officers who are the subject of a racial profiling lawsuit by a fellow officer who was off-duty at the time he was stopped and arrested.