“This is not Guantanamo Bay. You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned. Ms. Tillotson was simply doing her job,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a Wednesday press conference cited by SFGate. Adachi launched the presser to express his office’s outrage over Tuesday’s arrest of public defender Jami Tillotson, which was caught on tape in the video.
Tillotson was exiting a courtroom in San Francisco’s Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon with a client accused of shoplifting and a co-defendant when plainclothes San Francisco Police Department Sergeant Brian Stansbury and four uniformed officers approached and asked Tillotson to step aside so that officers could take photos of her client without her present. Though police on the scene did not explain themselves at the time, they intended to question her client and obtain photos for a lineup in connection with a separate case in which they say her client is a person of interest, which they interpreted as “consensual questioning,” rather than a formal interrogation. The officers felt that, due to the fact that Tillotson’s client had not been arrested on that specific charge, they were entitled to question the suspect without Tillotson present and ordered her to step aside to allow them to take photographs.