The officer’s explanation to the lawyer at the time was that if she didn’t stop objecting to what he wanted to do, “I will arrest you for resisting arrest.” That either made sense to him or he just didn’t care. That’s bad either way.
Jami Tillotson is a public defender in San Francisco, and was with a client who was appearing at the courthouse for a misdemeanor theft charge. After the appearance, her client and another man were apparently stopped in the hallway by five police officers, led by Sgt. Brian Stansbury (he’s the one in the suit). Tillotson noticed this and, not surprisingly, came over to find out what was going on.
‘Cause that’s what we do, you know. If we represent someone and notice something that might affect their legal rights—like, let’s say, if they have been stopped by police officers and we happen to be in the area—we like to find out what is going on. It’s actually kind of our job. We might even object, if something’s objectionable. Just FYI.
The facts aren’t 100% clear, but here’s a summary based on the reports and video. Police claim these two guys are “persons of interest” in another crime. The sergeant says he just wants to take their pictures and then they’ll be “free to go.” Tillotson says no thanks, and that’s when he states that “if you continue to do this [object], I will arrest you for resisting arrest.” She says, “please do,” and he does. He then takes pictures of the men as Tillotson is led away in handcuffs, and she spent the next hour cuffed to a wall in a holding cell.