In a now viral video, the first and only black Florida state attorney, Aramis Ayala, was stopped by the cops—and seemed to flip the script of the typical police-motorist interaction. The body-cam video from the June 19 stop shows cops approaching her car, looking at her license and asking Ayala what agency she was with, according to The Washington Post. She tells them she's a state attorney, then questions the reason for the stop. After learning the officer attempted to run her tags but didn't get anything back, she presses further to find out why her tags were being questioned in the first place.
The unnamed officer claims the practice is routine, saying her window tint seemed a bit too dark. Sounds like a pretty convenient excuse to me. The encounter ends with Ayala asking for the officers' contact information. It's pretty awesome—we don't often see the questioning role flip from the cop to the person being pulled over.
This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/jrxzo6SLP0
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 12, 2017
Ayala is the first and only black elected Florida state attorney, and she serves on the 9th Judicial Court. She faced controversy in March when she stated she would not pursue the death penalty in any cases, causing Florida Governor Rick Scott to remove 21 cases from her office. She then clapped back by suing him, according to CNN. She clearly isn't someone you want to mess with.
While Ayala agrees the officers' stop was legal, many believe this was just another example of racial profiling. It does seem to fit that mold. Ayala allegedly didn't break any traffic laws prior to the stop, leading many to conclude the underlying reason was race related. The internet has praised Ayala for her tact and composure throughout the entire situation, something that seemed to have left the officers unnerved. The officers have since faced criticism, with some people laughing at their nervous demeanor toward the end of the video.
my favorite part is when she said "I'm the state attorney"& the cops voice started to quiver. & she made sure to get their names. an icon. https://t.co/IBTiJoArhN
— nañi (@pettyblackgirI) July 12, 2017
That moment when you realize you racially profiled a state attorney... https://t.co/go94VgS2lO
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 13, 2017
Both Ayala and the department maintain there was no wrongdoing in the interaction, but BET has reported Ayala hopes it will start a dialogue between the community and law enforcement. Even if this wasn't a case of racial profiling, I'm sure Ayala's experiences will be a positive force toward creating change.