The Duval County Democratic Black Caucus (DCDBC) was on the front line for justice, as thousands descended on the Florida State Capital for a “Rally In Tally” in support of embattled state attorney Aramis Ayala. The rally was entitled “Ride for Aramis” and took place mid-day at the state capitol. Recently Governor Rick Scott took away 21 more first-degree murder cases from Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala because she refuses to pursue the death penalty against Markeith Loyd, an Orlando man accused of fatally shooting his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and later killing police Lt. Debra Clayton.
She has faced harsh criticism from lawmakers, police unions and other prosecutors and garnered support from civil rights activists, faith and city leaders, legislators, even family members of murder victims. In addition to the state attorneys rally, other advocates on the bus included those impacted by the criminal justice system who took the opportunity to show up to support and rally for prison reform.
The DCDBC was adamant to promote their stance and rationale behind attending the Rally in Tally. According to the Resolution, the Duval County Democratic Black Caucus intentionally did not deal with the right or wrong of the death penalty as a legal remedy, nor speak to whether or not Mr. Lloyd deserves the death penalty for his heinous crime.
DCDBC Media Committee Chair Phillip Minor remarked, “the DCDBC asserted and continues to believe, that every State’s Attorney, regardless to race or gender, has the legal right to exercise his or her prosecutorial discretion. That includes, what charges to file, how to prosecute a case and when warranted, whether to seek the death penalty or an alternative sentence. We maintain that State’s Attorney Ayala was within her rights to decline to seek the death penalty. We further believe the Governor overreached when he reassigned the case. If the electorate in the 9th Circuit disagrees with State’s Attorney performance, they can vote her out as we did in our jurisdiction with State’s Attorney Angela Corey. Thus, at bottom, we support prosecutorial discretion and oppose Executive Branch overreach,” he said. Pictured l-r are Duval County Democratic Black Caucus members Leavers Saunders, Amy Booker, George Gillis, Hazel Gillis, Sharon Patton, Valarie Green, Evangeline Watson, Luella McQueen (seated), Shirley George, Maci George and Velma Rounsville and Cory Wilborn (kneeling).