This Is Resisting Arrest?

Jami Tillotson is a public defender in the city of San Francisco. She has worked in that capacity for the last 18 years. On January 27, 2015, San Francisco police Inspector Brian Stansbury tried to question two clients of Tillotson outside a San Francisco courtroom. Tillotson told her clients they did not need to answer any questions from the police. She told the police that her clients would not answer any questions without their attorney being present. Despite her clients’ absolute right to have their lawyer present when being questioned, Stansbury told Tillotson to “stand aside” and move away while he questioned and took pictures of the two men.

When Tillotson refused to move away while her clients were being questioned, she was arrested for “resisting arrest.”

This is what “resisting arrest” looks like as the incident was filmed:

The San Francisco Police Department immediately stepped in and apologized for one of their detectives arresting a lawyer for protecting her clients’ rights.

Nah. Sorry. They didn’t.

San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Tillotson was detained by Stansbury for allegedly resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer trying to perform an investigation.

Esparza said Stansbury noticed two individuals in court that day who he thought might be related to a burglary that is still under investigation and called them aside to question them.

Esparza said anyone interfering with a police investigation can be detained by officers.

Esparza said it appears Stansbury “acted appropriately,” but said that San Francisco police Deputy Chief Lyn Tomioka will be reviewing the cellphone footage handed over by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

In short, it seems that the police are saying that they can do whatever they want in spite of laws, the Constitution and rights. If you get in their way, you can go to jail on some trumped up charge.

There are a lot of good police officers in this country. Most of them try to follow the laws and only want to do their job and go home at the end of their shift. Unfortunately, there are too many officers like Detective Stansbury who don’t seem to care about the law or the rights of people. Even worse, Police Departments seemed to be hell bent on keeping these officers around instead of getting rid of them.

There truly is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in this country and incidents like this make things worse, not better.

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