Patty Tillman, a Fort Worth solo, declined a chance to be on television recently. What prompted the shot at the limelight? She chased a man who she alleges snatched her purse from the passenger seat of her red Mercedes. It happened Aug. 26 as Tillman sat parked in front of the Tarrant County district courthouse, a stone’s throw from the downtown Fort Worth police headquarters. The news of Tillman’s frantic but ultimately successful pursuit — for several blocks and up and down parking ramps — appeared first in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A good yarn, her story was made even better by the little factoid that during the chase Tillman wore 3-inch heels (yes, they were stilettos). All that running, she reports, ruined the shoes. As a criminal-defense lawyer, however, Tillman decided a TV appearance featuring an account of her chase “would be inappropriate.” Although she says she knows “the difference between my job as a criminal-defense lawyer and my role as a victim,” she didn’t want to promote further her pursuit of an alleged perpetrator in case prospective clients get the wrong idea about which side she represents in criminal court these days. Tillman, who has practiced for a dozen years, previously served as an assistant county attorney in Parker County and an assistant district attorney in Dallas County. She says although she would be more than happy to testify as an eyewitness against the alleged purse snatcher, she hopes he gets a good criminal-defense lawyer. The man’s lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Immediately after her purse allegedly was snatched, Tillman says, criminal defense was the farthest concept from her mind. Hopping out of her car and following the man as fast as she could, given her footwear, she says she commanded from the top of her lungs: “Drop it.” She was so loud and making such a commotion, she says, that the man did drop the purse. Several police officers and a crowd of people participated in the chase and were able to stop the man and hold him to the ground. Seeing him on the ground, Tillman says, she asked a nearby police officer — only partly in jest — if she could take the opportunity to swat the man with her purse (which she retrieved with all of its contents intact). The officer properly forbade any such assault, Tillman says. But she is still thinking about asking the man to pay for the ruined shoes.
-- Miriam Rozen