Police Watchdog Group Deems 2015 Arrest of SF Public Defender Unjustified

A San Francisco police watchdog group concluded that a former San Francisco deputy public defender was arrested without cause last year outside a courtroom when she questioned why a police sergeant was taking pictures of her client and another man.

Preliminary findings from the Office of Citizen’s Complaints, which were released by the Public Defender’s Office today, are in response to a complaint filed by the former deputy public defender involved, Jami Tillotson.

Tillotson was arrested on Jan. 27, 2015, outside a courtroom at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. The incident was caught on camera and posted online.

Immediately following the incident, Tillotson was taken to the police station and handcuffed to a bench for an hour before being released. Tillotson was never charged for the incident.

The OCC found that the Police Department arrested Tillotson without cause and detained her without justification, according to the public defender’s office.

The OCC did not say whether the officers involved in the incident were disciplined.

“It is discouraging that even a year later in my very public case where the allegations were sustained, there has still been no response on whether the officers faced discipline or if there were any charges made in police training,” Tillotson said in a statement.

Tillotson has a civil suit against the city in federal court. She has since left the public defender’s office for private practice.

Daniel Montes, Bay City News

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