The San Francisco public defender’s office ripped police for arresting one of its attorneys as she challenged a detective photographing and speaking to her client, SFGate.com reported.
“This is not Guantanamo Bay,” the head of the office, John Adachi, said. “You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned.”
Adachi’s office released video of deputy public defender Jami Tillotson stepping between Inspector Brian Stansbury outside a courtroom on Tuesday. Stanbury can be seen telling the client, “I just want to take some pictures, OK, and he’ll be free to go.”
Tillotson, who was defending the client against a misdemeanor theft charge, immediately steps in. Stanbury asks her to step away from the client, then walks back toward her and asks her to step aside.
“I’m pretty sure that we’re OK,” she replies. “We don’t need any pictures taken, thank you.”
“No, you’re not pretty sure,” Stanbury says. “If you continue with this, I will arrest you for resisting arrest.”
“Please do,” Tillotson says. Stanbury quickly takes a pair of handcuffs from an officer and places her under arrest. She states that she not resisting arrest and is representing her client before another officer leads her away. At that point, Stanbury goes back to taking pictures of her client.
Tillotson was held for an hour on charges of resisting arrest before being released. Police spokesperson Albie Esparza said on Wednesday that Stanbury was justified in his actions because her client was a person of interest in a separate investigation.
Esparza also said that the matter will be forwarded to the local district attorney’s office for review “when appropriate.”
The San Francisco Examiner reported that one of Stanbury’s colleagues filed a federal civil rights suit against him accusing the inspector of racial profiling.
Watch footage of Tillotson’s arrest, as posted online on Wednesday, below.