The Orlando Police Department received criticism after video of Florida’s only black state attorney being pulled over by two white police officers was published to the department’s YouTube page.
The almost 3-minute clip shows State Attorney Aramis Ayala stone-faced as two unidentified officers approach her white sedan and take her driver’s license.
After one officer asks what agency she’s with, Alaya responds:
“I’m the state attorney.”
The officers grow a bit nervous from there, explaining that the car did not come back as registered to any vehicle when the plate was run — something the officer claims he’s never seen before on a Florida license plate.
When Ayala — who had just finished teaching a law class at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University — asks what the tag was run for, the officer says it’s routine to run plates so cops can “figure out if cars are stolen.”
The officer then says another reason for the stop is the fact that Ayala’s windows are “really dark,” prompting the state attorney to smile and ask if the cops have any cards on them.
The official writes down both his and his partner’s name on a piece of paper and gives it to Ayala before cheerily telling her to have a good day.
Once published, the video sparked criticism from prominent activists who questioned why the only black state’s attorney in Florida was pulled over:
Watch as @OrlandoPolice struggle to give one reasonable explanation for why they just pulled over the only Black state’s attorney in Florida pic.twitter.com/Dth5VW1wcB
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 11, 2017
Florida’s only black state attorney Aramis Ayala pulled over by Orlando police even though she had not violated any traffic laws. https://t.co/0eKcDMzN1j
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 12, 2017
The Orlando P.D. defended its officers in a statement, noting they routinely run tags on patrol and could not see who was in the vehicle before they pulled Ayala over. Explaining the video was released as part of a public records request, the department wrote:
“In regards to the video, which was released by the Orlando Police Department last month, the officers stated the tag did not come back as registered to any vehicle. As you can see in the video, the window tint was dark, and officers would not have been able to tell who, or how many people, were in the vehicle.”
Ayala has not filed a lawsuit or complaint about the incident, but says she violated no laws — including her window tint — and her license plate was properly registered.
The state attorney agreed the traffic stop was in accordance with Florida law, but says it still warrants a conversation with police. She explained:
“My goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community. I look forward to sitting down to have an open dialogue with the Chief of Orlando Police Department regarding how this incident impacts that goal.”
Do YOU suspect anything shady about this traffic stop? Watch for yourself (below).
[Image via YouTube.]