Racist Threats Toward State Attorney Aramis Ayala
Aside from debating life and death, the conversation around Florida’s death penalty has some racist undertones, as evidenced this week after Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala said a noose was mailed to her office.
Ayala made the remarks during a radio interview on WHPB 98.5 The Wire, a station based in the Pine Hills area. Host Paul Porter had asked Ayala about the threats she received after announcing in March that she wouldn't seek the death penalty for capital cases, including the case of murder suspect Markeith Loyd. Since Ayala announced her decision, she was removed from the Loyd case and 22 more first-degree murder cases by Gov. Rick Scott, who said she "won't fight for justice." Ayala has filed two lawsuits against the governor asking him to prove what constitutional authority allowed him to remove her.
Ayala is the first African-American to be elected as state attorney in Florida. Several lynching threats were directed at Ayala shortly after her announcement, including one from an employee at the Seminole County Clerk of the Court's office, who said on Facebook that Ayala should "tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree." The threats are especially egregious given Florida's own history of terrorizing African-American communities with lynchings.
Ayala says in spite of the threats, she wants to push the community to readdress how criminal justice is handled in Orlando.