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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Watch Aramis Ayala ask two cops why they stopped her (w/video)

Footage posted online by the Orlando Police Department shows Ayala in her car.

Orlando Police Department

Footage posted online by the Orlando Police Department shows Ayala in her car.



Aramis Ayala, Florida's first African-American elected state attorney, has been no stranger to racially charged insults, especially after she declared in March that she's not pursuing the death penalty for violent felony cases. For instance, in April, she received a noose in the mail.

But now footage from a month ago (June 19 at about 8:15 p.m.) has emerged showing two police officers explaining why they pulled over Ayala, the Orlando-area prosecutor.

According to the video, a police officer wearing a body camera scans Ayala's driver's license and asks her what agency she work for. 

"I'm the state attorney," Ayala replies.

"Thank you, your tag didn't come back, never seen that before, but we're good now," the officer says. "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 says. 

"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 says. "Also, the windows are really dark. I don't have a tint measure, but that's another reason for the stop."

Ayala then asked for the officers' names, saying: "Do you have cards on you?"

Sgt. Eduardo Bernal, a spokesman for the Orlando Police Department, told The Buzz that policy allows the running of tags for official business only, and that this is done "routinely on patrol."

"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," Bernal said in an email. "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."

Bernal added that no complaint has been filed in reference to the traffic stop.

When contacted by The Buzz, Ayala's office issued this statement by Ayala that said the traffic stop was "consistent with Florida law." But Ayala does say that the tint of her car was NOT a violation, as one of the officers implies in the video.

"I was pulled over by Orlando Police department on June 19th in Parramore after leaving FAMU Law School, where I taught in the evening.After public records request, the video was released by the Orlando Police Department. Since its release, the video has had more than 2 million views and produced a flood of misinformation.  Including the filing of a lawsuit which is not true. 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. Although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law.  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." 

Check out the video below.


Times Staff Writer Melissa Gomez contributed.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 4:38pm]


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