DeSantis also accused Warren of not doing what he could as state attorney in Hillsborough County to hunt down criminals.
“It is untenable to take a stance of having a veto over the state’s laws,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tampa surrounded by law enforcement.
Republican DeSantis’ move to oust the twice-elected Democrat from Hillsborough voters drew immediate scathing rebukes from Democratic state lawmakers and officials. Minority Leader Sen. Lauren Booker said DeSantis “behaved more like a dictator than a ‘governor of America.'” Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nicky Freed, Agriculture Commissioner, said Waugh Lun’s suspension is a “politically motivated exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the attack on a generally respected elected state attorney.”
“Ron DeSantis is a sad bully,” Freed said.
A spokesman for Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.His office canceled a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m.
DeSantis said he instructed staff to review whether any state prosecutors in Florida “decide for themselves which laws they like and will enforce,” after seeing prosecutors in other states decline to bring charges against certain crimes, so the decision Suspend Warren. That review led them to Warren, who has become a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform and overturning wrongful convictions.
“The governor should not have come to Hillsboro County to clean up our mess,” former Tampa police chief Brian Duggan said at a news conference. “That’s what it boils down to.”
Under Florida law, the governor can remove “any county officer” for malfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, intoxication, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties or committing a felony. The Florida Senate has the power to reinstate a suspended officer or remove the person from office.
DeSantis named Susan Lopez as state attorney during Warren’s suspension. He previously appointed Lopez to the Hillsborough County Circuit Court judge. DeSantis told reporters he hadn’t spoken to Warren before the announcement.
Warren was first elected to state attorney in 2016, defeating a longtime Republican incumbent in a narrow race that predicted the bellwether Florida county’s leftward turn. He was re-elected in 2020, winning the vote for President Big Joe Biden in Hillsborough County ratio is higher.
During his first few years in office, Warren kept a relatively low profile, quietly modernizing his office and making criminal justice reforms. In 2018, he supported the re-election campaign of the county’s elected Republican Sheriff, Chad Cronister, and held frequent news conferences with law enforcement. In turn, Chronister praised Warren months before the Democratic re-election bid.
But Cronister hosted Thursday’s news conference at the Hillsboro County Sheriff’s Office and delivered harsh criticism of Warren alongside DeSantis. (Chronister’s wife Nicole DeBartolo and father-in-law Edward DeBartolo have donated $472,000 to DeSantis’ reelection campaign.
Warren has become increasingly critical of DeSantis during the pandemic. In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, he publicly attacked the governor’s decision to allow megachurches to operate in Florida, just days after a Tampa pastor was arrested for serving in public. Later that summer, Warren announced that he would not prosecute the 67 people arrested for protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
But it was Warren’s forays into the country’s political divisions over transgender and abortion care that sparked DeSantis’ action on Thursday. Warren last year joined dozens of local and state attorneys who signed a letter written by the progressive group Fair and Just Prosecution condemning the criminalization of doctors who will provide gender-affirming care for transgender people. law. After the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and remove constitutional protections for abortion, Warren signed another letter from Fairness and Justice, pledging to use discretion not to use “limited criminal legal system resources” to prosecute those Abortion by someone who seeks, offers or supports.
“I think that’s really shocking, and it’s not just an exercise of discretion,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis has used his power more than his predecessors to remove certain elected officials. One of DeSantis’ first actions as governor was to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who oversaw the police response to the deadly mass shooting at Parkland High School.