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Florida’s first African American state attorney pulled over in traffic stop

The Dallas Examiner and Associated Press | 7/24/2017, 2:06 a.m.
There was something a little unusual about a June 19 traffic stop in Orlando – other than the driver being ...
Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala at a news conference announcing that her office will no longer pursue the death penalty. – Photo by Joe Burbank of Orlando Sentinel/AP Associated Press

The Dallas Examiner and Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – There was something a little unusual about a June 19 traffic stop in Orlando – other than the driver being Florida’s first African American state attorney who also happens to be in a legal fight with the governor over the death penalty.

Two Orlando police officers told state attorney Aramis Ayala they stopped her because her car’s tag didn’t come back registered to any vehicle and because the windows were tinted. They were polite, but couldn’t seem to answer her question about why they ran her plate, except to say that they run plates randomly.

Orlando police have released a bodycam video of the encounter. In the video, one of the officers told the prosecutor, “We run tags all the time ... that’s how we figure out if cars are stolen.”

She still seemed puzzled. She later said she violated no law and sees the incident as a point of dialogue with the police chief as she seeks better relations between police and the community.

“My goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community,” she said.

The police agency stated that her window tint was dark, and officers would not have been able to tell who, or how many people, were in the vehicle.

Ayala said the tint of her car’s windows wasn’t in violation of the law and that her license plate was properly registered and confidential.

Ayala announced earlier this year that her office would no longer seek the death penalty as a sentence in any case brought before the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida because it wasn’t a deterrent and it dragged on for victims’ families. Her stance has riled Florida Gov. Rick Scott. In response, the governor took away almost two dozen cases from her office. She is currently fighting the governor’s decision before the Florida Supreme Court.