Bodycam footage of two white Orlando police officers pulling over Florida’s first and only black state attorney has prompted criticism after it was published to the Orlando Police Department’s YouTube page on Wednesday.
The footage shows Aramis Ayala, who serves as state attorney in the 9th Circuit, handing the officer her license before telling him who she was, at which point the officer quickly gave her license back and launched into an explanation of why she was stopped.
“I am the state attorney,” Aramis Ayala told the officer when asked what government agency she works for. The footage shows officers returning Ayala’s driver’s license after running her vehicle’s tags.
“Thank you; your tag didn’t come back, never seen that before,” the officer quickly responds. “We’re good now. We ran the tag, I’ve never seen it before with a Florida tag, it didn’t come back to anything, so that’s the reason for the stop.”
“What was the tag run for?” Ayala asks.
“Oh, we run tags through all the time, whether it’s a traffic light and that sort of stuff, that’s how we figure out if cars are stolen and that sort of thing,” the officer said. “Also, the windows are really dark. I don’t have a tint measure, but that’s another reason for the stop.”
“You guys have cards on you?” Ayala asks.
The footage ends with the officers writing down their names and handing it over to Ayala.
Ayala confirmed she was pulled over by Orlando police after teaching a class at Florida A&M University Law School,” writes the Hill.
“To be clear, I violated no laws. The license plate, while confidential was and remains properly registered. The tint was in no way a violation of Florida law,” Ayala said in a statement.
She said that although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law, her 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,” she said.
Prominent activists tweeted out their questions and criticisms of the controversial traffic stop.
“What was the reason for the stop?” asked Activist DeRay McKesson.
What was the reason for the stop? pic.twitter.com/0UJAPXAJMV
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 13, 2017
Shaun King, senior justice writer for the New York Daily News and Black Lives Matter activist, said in a tweet that the Orlando Police “struggl[ed] to give one reasonable explanation for why they just pulled over the only Black state’s attorney in Florida.”
Keith Boykin, a political commentator also tweeted out the clip saying that Ayala had been pulled over “even though she had not violated any traffic laws.”