In a cringeworthy video released by the Orlando Police Department yesterday, an officer pulls over a black woman for a license plate check—only to quickly try to end the conversation when he learns that the driver is the state attorney.
"What agency are you with?" the officer asks her in the June 19 traffic stop.
"I'm the state attorney" responds Aramis Ayala, Florida’s first black state attorney, who serves as head of the 9th Judicial District.
“All right, thank you,” the officer says quickly, adding that he pulled her over because a check of her license plate came up empty. She then asks why they ran her tag to begin with; he responds that they run tags routinely.
"That's how we figure out if cars are stolen and that sort of thing," he says.
"Also, the windows are really dark, I don't have a tint measure but that's another reason for the stop," he adds.
She smiles and asks for his business card. Then, the officers leave—without giving her a citation.
Both Orlando Police and Ayala say that the stop is legal.
"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," the Orlando Police Department said in a statement.
But Ayala did appear to question the rationale behind the stop in a conversation with CNN.
"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," she said.
"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," she added. “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.”
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