Tallahassee, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that he was suspending Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Andrew Warren because the prosecutor has pledged not to enforce the state’s laws.
DeSantis called the chief prosecutor for the 13th Judicial Circuit covering Hillsborough County “woke” and cited Warren’s positions on abortion laws, transgender medical treatment, and numerous other high-profile and controversial issues, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Warren chairs the Florida Democratic Party’s Safety & Justice Task Force and has been outspoken on criminal justice reform, too, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“Our government is a government of laws, not a government of men,” the governor said.
“Over the last few years individual prosecutors take it upon themselves to determine which laws they like and will enforce, and which laws they don’t like and won’t enforce and the results of this in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been catastrophic,” DeSantis continued.
Warren called his suspension a “political witch hunt” and “an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSantis,” the prosecutor complained.
Statement from Hillsborough (Tampa) FL State Attorney Andrew Warren, responding to Desantis’s political theatre today by seeking to suspend him from his elected, constitutional office for his statement that he will not prosecute people for abortions. pic.twitter.com/LTi6KOhbv6
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) August 4, 2022
Warren was elected in November of 2016 and re-elected with 53 percent of the vote in 2020, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
But rising crime has sparked discussions in the community as to whether Warren continued to represent the best interests of his constituents.
“I don’t think the people of Hillsborough County want to have an agenda that is basically woke,” the governor said. “To take a position that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is untenable.”
DeSantis said a statewide review of prosecutors and quickly zeroed in on Warren, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
The governor said Warren “put himself publicly above the law.”
Prosecutors have a duty to enforce the law, not pick and choose which laws they agree with.
The State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Andrew Warren, has instituted nonenforcement policies and has declared that he will refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like. pic.twitter.com/EbSbCRrLHa
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 4, 2022
Warren has publicly vowed that he will not enforce the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
“The response that we got was a lot of frustration on the part of law enforcement for criminals being let go and crimes not being prosecuted… I can tell you it’s been a very, very troubling record,” DeSantis explained.
Florida Democrats responded with outrage to the prosecutor’s suspension, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried called DeSantis “a pathetic bully.”
U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Florida), who is also running for governor in the Democratic primary, called DeSantis a “a wannabe dictator who puts partisan politics first,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
But others were glad to see DeSantis take action against the activist prosecutor.
“The governor should not have had to come to Hillsborough County and clean up our mess,” former Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters. “That’s really what it comes down to.”
DeSantis has used his gubernatorial powers to remove certain elected officials more times than his predecessors, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
One of the first things he did after he was elected governor was suspend former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for his poor performance handling the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.