Jeff Adachi, the San Francisco public defender who died at 59, spent his career fighting for the poor and against abuses

Jeff Adachi’s courtroom was never confined to just San Francisco’s Hall of Justice.

Adachi had served as the city’s elected public defender since 2002, overseeing the office which provides legal aid to those who cannot afford it – but he believed that his duty was to more than his office’s clients. He released surveillance video of San Francisco police officers accused of stealing and conducting illegal searches from rooms in residential hotels. He publicized allegations that San Francisco sheriff deputies forced inmates to fight for their entertainment. He called for then-state attorney general Kamala Harris to investigate city officers who exchanged racist and bigoted text messages – and then blasted her for inaction against that same police department over the fatal shootings of people of color.

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