Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that progressive State Attorney Andrew Warren was suspended for neglect of duty and allegedly pledging not to uphold the laws of the state.
"We are suspending Soros-backed 13th Circuit State Attorney Andrew Warren for neglecting his duties as he pledges not to uphold the laws of the state," DeSantis' office said in a statement.
DeSantis targeted Warren, a Democrat, for vowing not to enforce state laws on abortion and child sex-change operations. DeSantis also noted that Warren promised a policy of "presumptive non-enforcement."
DeSantis made the announcement of Warren's suspension during a press conference in Tampa on Thursday morning.
"And so when you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty, and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties, and so today, we are suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren, effective immediately," DeSantis stated.
Warren is the state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, which covers all of Hillsborough County, including the city of Tampa.
"The constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in state attorneys," DeSantis said. "We are not going to allow this pathogen that's been around the country of ignoring the law; we are not going let that get a foothold in the state of Florida."
"Want to know why some people are moving to Florida? Because their communities are no longer safe, thanks to prosecutors that think they know better than the people's representatives, and they get to pick and choose which laws that they're enforcing," the Republican governor of Florida said.
“State attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis declared. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida."
"We believe this is a law-and-order state; we are not going to back down," DeSantis proclaimed.
DeSantis claimed that money from outside Florida is "really trying to push an agenda" in the state.
"I don't think the people of Hillsborough County want to have an agenda that is basically woke, where you're deciding that your view of social justice means that certain laws should be enforced," the governor said.
DeSantis referred to how progressive, George Soros-backed San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled by mostly liberal voters after crime ran rampant in the city.
During the press conference, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the suspension of Warren wasn't political, noting it was about "law and order."
"There aren't Republican and Democratic victims – just victims," Chronister said. "They matter, and they should be heard."
Chronister accused Warren of being a "supreme authority" who "single-handedly determines what crimes will be legal or illegal" in the county.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd listed the cities of Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., as places where prosecutors are not enforcing the law and crime has been a major issue.
DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw added, "Progressive prosecutors backed by Soros have refused to enforce laws across the country. They treat criminals with deference & victims with contempt. This dereliction of duty is why crime is surging. But Gov. Ron DeSantis won’t stand for this. He just suspended the one in Florida."
DeSantis suspended Warren under Article IV, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Florida, which empowers the governor to suspend state officials for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.
DeSantis replaced Warren with Judge Susan Lopez. She was appointed as a judge on the Hillsborough County Court in 2021 by DeSantis. Lopez previously served as assistant state attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit for over 15 years and as staff attorney of the Second District Court of Appeal.
Lopez said, “I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the State Attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws. I want to thank the governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”
The Tampa Bay Times previously described Warren as a "frequent face touting progressive justice policies as Hillsborough County’s state attorney."
On June 2, 2020, there was a George Floyd protest in downtown Tampa that escalated into property damage and violence. Police arrested 67 people for unlawful assembly.
Warren refused to prosecute those 67 individuals.
“I’ve said many times that criminal justice reform involves looking at each case as a problem to solve, not just a person to be punished,” Warren said at the time. “In these unlawful assembly cases, there is no value in filing charges. Prosecuting people for exercising their First Amendment rights creates problems rather than solving them. It can weaken the bonds between law enforcement and the community, while undermining faith in our system.”