Wednesday, January 28, 2015
A San Francisco deputy public defender was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at the Hall of Justice after she asked why city police officers were questioning her client outside a courtroom, the public defender’s office said Wednesday.
Attorney Jami Tillotson was handcuffed to a bar in a Southern Police Station holding area located at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. for an hour following what public defender’s office spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton called “blatant intimidation” by several police officers.
Police officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Tillotson’s client had just made an appearance in Department 17 on the second floor with a co-defendant for a misdemeanor shoplifting charge when he left the courtroom and began getting questioned by a plainclothes police officer, Aparton said.
She found her client and his co-defendant “surrounded by police officers,” being asked identifying questions about their height and weight, Aparton said.Tillotson had been conducting an interview with another client in the courtroom’s holding tank when she was alerted of the situation and rushed out into the hallway.
“She told the interrogating officer that she was the attorney and he said, 'I just need two minutes with him,’” Aparton said. “When she asked why, he just said it was a police investigation. Then he started basically bullying her, telling her she’s interfering.
“She wasn’t interfering,” Aparton said. “She was just trying to protect her client’s constitutional right to counsel.”
at 3:15 PM