According to the news reports, on June 19th (nearly a month ago), two Florida cops performed a vehicle stop on a car occupied by Florida’s State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala. The reason for the stop, as stated by the officers in the video, and confirmed by their department, is that they had run the license plates on her car through DMV on their computer and there was no record for the plates in the DMV computer system. The officers, at least in all the versions of the video that I have seen, are polite and friendly to Ms. Ayala, who coincidentally is obviously perturbed and asked for the officer’s information.
The video of this stop was released a few days ago and since it was released, certain people’s heads are exploding. The allegations that the stop was racially motivated are being thrown around like crazy. Some people, namely those who have not the slightest clue about cop work, are straight freaking out over this.
Let’s watch the stop in its entirety.
So, let’s compare that traffic stop above to another one from a quite a number of years ago. A CHP officer runs the plate on a mint green 1995 Ford Thunderbird, one that looks like it has seen better days, and has dark tinted windows. The plate comes back not on file. The CHP officer initiates a vehicle stop and the driver, me, a pale white guy, is contacted. The CHP officer was polite and friendly, as was I, and once the CHP officer confirmed that the vehicle and license plates were not stolen and there was a legitimate reason the plates did not show up in DMV’s computer (it was an undercover cop car), we parted ways, and that was the end of it. Which is exactly what should have happened in this case, but sadly that is not what is happening.
Folks, the media is playing you. Just look at the incendiary headlines regarding this nothing of an incident.
- Policeman pulls over black woman and quickly discovers she is the state attorney (Independent.co.uk)
- Florida state attorney pulled over in traffic stop that goes nowhere fast (CNN)
- Black Florida State Attorney Pulled Over in Traffic Stop, Prompting Criticism (NBC)
- BLACK WHILE DRIVING: FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY STOPPED BY POLICE IN VIRAL VIDEO (Newswek)
- VIDEO: Orlando police officers struggle to explain why they pulled over State Attorney Aramis Ayala (Orlando Weekly)
- Florida Cops Goof In Pulling Over Black Female State Attorney For Garbage Reasons (HipHopWired)
- VIDEO: State Attorney Aramis Ayala Racially Profiled By Orlando Police? (Florida National News)
This vehicle stop is a HUGE NOTHING! Absolutely nothing about this traffic stop is remotely newsworthy, nothing. And despite many of the articles, no one was scrambling to explain why they stopped her. They very clearly stated the reason, a very legit reason.
For those of you who have no idea what we do, cops run license plates all day long. We run them while we are driving to calls, we run them while we are driving to dinner, and sometimes we run them while we are heading to the station near the end of shift, but not as often then. It is how we find stolen cars, wanted persons, verify registrations are current and valid, and many other things. Not only is it legal to do that, it is actually part of our job and we are expected to do it.
In the case of Ms. Ayala’s stop, these cops ran her plate and it came back not on file. There are many reasons why a license plate might not be in the DMV computer system, and only one of them is legal (the situation encountered in both previously mentioned vehicle stops). Other reasons (the illegal ones) would be that the plates are counterfeit, of which there are many ways to fake this, or they could be very old plates that are no longer in the system and do not belong on the car.
In cop work, when a plate comes back not on file, we call that a clue, which usually prompts us to investigate why the license plate is not in DMV’s records, which is exactly what the cops in both of the vehicle stops previously mentioned did. A stop was conducted, the driver was contacted, the vehicle and license plates were confirmed to be legit, and the drivers were released. Everything occurred exactly as it should. The only difference was one of the drivers (not me) got upset about being stopped and asked for the officer’s names and other information (insinuating that she is going to file a complaint).
Some people are insinuating she was stopped because she was black. Was I stopped because I was white? If she was stopped for being black (which she wasn’t), why were the cops so polite to her?
Come on folks, not everything is racist! Stop looking for racism where there is none. You are not fixing things, you are making them worse!