Governor DeSantis said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, the top county prosecutor from Tampa, is violating the law by declaring he wont prosecute laws he personally disagrees with. The Democrat attorney has publicly stated he wont enforce a new abortion restriction or an anticipated law banning transgender surgeries for young children.
Joined by law enforcement officials at a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis accused Warren of neglecting his official duties and usurping the vote power of a governor by refusing to prosecute those who violate laws he doesn’t agree with.
“When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty,” DeSantis said. “You have neglected your duty, and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties.”
Warren, who has become popular among progressive circles for his criminal justice reform policies, derided the suspension as political posturing.
“Today’s political stunt is an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition,” Warren said in a written statement.
An adviser to Warren said he was blindsided by DeSantis’ announcement and by the law enforcement officials who criticized his soft-on-crime policies during the press conference.
One of the laws Warren takes issue with is a law limiting abortion in Florida to 15 weeks in all circumstances. The other is an executive order DeSantis is expected to sign that would ban transgender-related treatment of minors.
He was removed from his office by deputies. Florida’s state constitution gives the governor the right to suspend state officials, and the Florida Senate will now decide whether to remove him from office for the rest of his term.