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Busloads of ‘hundreds’ planned for Aramis Ayala rally in Tallahassee

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A coalition of Civil Rights and other organizations is planning to bus hundreds of supporters to Tallahassee for a rally Thursday for Orlando’s embattled State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

The “Ride For Aramis,” events will conclude with a 12:30 p.m. rally on the Duval Road steps of the Florida Capitol.

Organizers, which include the NAACP, Latino Justice, Florida Council of Churches, Orange County Black Voice, the 8th Amendment Project, Color of Change, Equal Justice USA, and Let Your Voice Be Heard Orlando, said they will be bringing in busloads of Ayala supporters and death penalty opponents from Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Two weeks ago Ayala, newly-elected, announced she would not pursue death penalty prosecutions in her Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties. She’s received powerful political blowback, starting with condemnations from Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Scott used an executive order to remove her from her highest-profile murder case and reassigned the Markeith Loyd case to State Attorney Brad King of Ocala. She has indicated she intends to challenge that move in court.

She also has received declarations of support from many groups, including all of those involved in organizing Thursday’s rally. Some Florida and Central Florida Democratic groups also have declared their support, but mainly for her prosecutorial discretion, and not so often for her position opposing the death penalty.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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