Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3084: Public Defender Jami Tillotson being Arrested in San Francisco Court House - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Tuesday 27 January 2015, Jami Tillotson, a Deputy Public Defender for the City of San Francisco was arrested (in the Hall of Justice) and was booked for a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. This was in response to her reaction to police when she refused to let them question or photograph her client.

Chief Public Defender (and former San Francisco Mayoral Candidate) Jeff Adachi said that the arresting officer (Sergeant Brian Stansbury) had no right to question Tillotson's client without her being present and that Tillotson's arrest was unlawful. The police department disputes this claim and said the officer's actions were fully justified.

The public defender's office also revealed that Officer Stansbury has been the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit that was brought against him by another San Francisco Police officer alleging racial profiling. Adachi has also accused Stansbury of racial profiling in this incident as well - since Tillotson's client is also African-American (who was there on a matter unrelated to what Officer Stansbury wanted to question him about).

The scenario was of course very emotionally charged and since it was captured on video - this provides an excellent nonverbal example. What follows is a partial body language analysis of Public Defender Jami Tillotson.

0:33 - 0:35

Self-Righteous Head and Torso Wiggle

Sometimes isolated to just the head or even the jaw, these rapid side-to-side movements are often accompanied by increases in speed, volume and pitch of the spoken words (as is seen here) and indicates a very strong conviction of being morally right and indicates a relative feeling of alpha status (despite the fact that she is being arrested by police officers who are of course armed). The self-righteous head/jaw/torso wiggles are 99.9% of the time subconsciously generated and can be thought of as a manifestation of swagger.


Forward Lip Purse

The forward lip purse here indicates that she believes she is in the right, and (like the self-righteous head/torso wiggle) also indicates she believes she is the relative alpha and that she knows things the officer doesn't know (e.g. a clandestine disagreement and/or a clandestine plan). Moreover she believes she has a good chance of pulling off her plan and becoming triumphant. The fact that this is a tightened version of a forward lip purse indicates there is a significant component of anger present as well.


Tongue in Cheek (forward tongue in cheek) in this context indicating "I just won", "I caught you". She believes that the officer is completely in the wrong - and his actions are being captured on video. As with all nonverbals, the tongue in cheek display has different interpretations based on the other body language with which it is clustered.

0:38 - 0:39

Inward Lip Roll (ILR)

The inward lip roll tells us that she is suppressing internal growth of emotion (e.g., trying to control her temper) as well as trying to prevent outward expression of similar negative emotion.

0:51 Second Forward Lip Purse

0:52 - 0:53

Second Inward Lip Roll

The fact that Ms. Tillotson is oscillating back and forth between different emotions (emotional dissonance) is not surprising here since she (and many others in retrospect) felt that she was correct and lawful in her assertions - and yet it is quite an unpleasant experience to be arrested.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3083: Marshawn Lynch Interview, "I'm just here so I won't get fined" - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2398:  Self Righteous Head Wiggle, Alpha Behavior &  First Drone Flight Off of an Aircraft Carrier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1552:  The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle &  The Buffett Rule

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2434:  Brad Pitt's Tongue-in-Cheek regarding  Reasons for Choosing to Work on "World War Z"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2210:  Body Language Signaling of an Attempt to Control Emotional Escalation & Display - The Inward Lip Roll

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3058: Stuart Scott's ESPY Award Speech - a Common Yet Very Under-appreciated Signal of Sadness/Grief Suppression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2540: Rep. Darrell Issa 'Snaps' at Reporter - Was His Anger Real or Fake? Body Language and the Forward Lip Purse

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2495:  The White House, Josh Earnest, Egypt and a Coup