A pair of police officers have caught themselves on camera, struggling to explain why they had pulled over Florida’s first and only black state attorney.
Aramis Ayala, who serves as state attorney in the Sunshine State’s 9th Judicial Circuit, was pulled over on 19 June.
As the officer approaches her window, she can be seen grabbing her licence from her wallet, which she then hands over to him.
When he asks what agency she works for, she responds: “I’m the state attorney”.
The officer immediately launches into an explanation for the stop, explaining that he ran the tags on her car and received no result.
Ms Ayala asked: “What was the tag run for?”
The officer then begins to stumble, saying: “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.”
He added: “Also, the windows are really dark. I don’t have a tint measure but that’s another reason for the stop.”
The State Attorney, visibly annoyed, asks for the officers’ cards. Neither have them available, so they write their contact information on a piece of paper.
Orlando police department said that it “allows the running of tags for official business only, and 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. 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,” a statement said.
No complaint has been filed over the stop, police said.
Ms Ayala, a career public defender, ran for state attorney on a platform of transparency and a promise to bridge gaps with communities of colour.
In a statement to The Independent, Ms Ayala said she has “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,” the statement said.
“My goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community, Ms Ayala 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”.
Ms Ayala recently made headlines for refusing to pursue the death penalty in the murder trial of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton and his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.
Florida Governor Rick Scott removed her from the case for what he called her refusal to “fight for justice”.
Ms Ayala has asked the state Supreme Court to block Mr Scott’s decision.
In April, the State Attorney’s office reported she had received a noose in the mail, accompanied by a disturbing letter. The office said Ms Ayala frequently receives hate mail, often expressing racist sentiments.