At a time when technology has become a tool for Black Americans and activists to tell their stories, more and more videos of racially motivated incidents are surfacing online.
Ayala, the state’s first African-American attorney, has been subjected to racially charged attacks in the past. She was targeted with a noose in the mail in April after she refused to pursue the death penalty in the high-profile case of Markeith Loyd, a man who was charged with murdering his girlfriend and an Orlando police officer. Florida Governor Rick Scott removed her from the case in a decision that was upheld by a Florida judge.
In the newly surfaced footage, Ayala asks two police officers why they pulled her over on June 19 around 8:15 p.m, writes the Times. An officer wearing a body camera scanned Ayala’s driver’s license and asked her what agency she worked for. The criminal justice reform advocate and Orlando-area prosecutor told them she was the state attorney.
The officer then said, “Thank you, your tag didn’t come back, never seen that before, but 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.”
Ayala then asked why her tags were ran, according to the Times.
“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,” replied the officer. “Also, the windows are really dark. I don’t have a tint measure, but that’s another reason for the stop.”
The encounter ended with Ayala having asked for the officers’ names. Ayala issued a statement about the incident, reports Orlando Weekly.
“I was pulled over by Orlando Police department on June 19th in Parramore after leaving FAMU Law School, where I taught in the evening,” said Ayala, who continued: “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.”
Ayala also said that she did nothing illegal, and her goal is to forge a “mutually respectful” relationship between law enforcement and the community. She also said that she wants to have an “open dialogue” with the Orlando Police Department chief about how the incident impacts her goal.
The Orlando Police Department issued a statement as well, explaining it runs tags routinely on patrol and defending the officers’ actions. No complaint has been filed about the incident, police also said in the statement.