After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office teased a “major” announcement on Thursday, which some speculated could have been a 2024 presidential campaign run, the firebrand Republican leader announced that his administration would suspend Hillsborough County’s state attorney for failing to enforce laws he didn’t agree with.
Governor DeSantis signed an executive order on Thursday that suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit over his “neglect of duty.” DeSantis made the announcement in a press conference hosted at the Falkenburg Road Jail in Tampa on Thursday morning and used the opportunity to stress the importance of state attorneys enforcing all laws – and not just those with which they agree.
“The Constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in state attorneys,” DeSantis said.
The governor was accompanied by Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who accused the state attorney of not enforcing the law and being lenient on the sentencing of violent criminals. Chronister described how a man, who was believed to have gang affiliations, shot somebody in September of last year. The man was arrested in the days following, after a law enforcement operation found him, but was quickly released from jail.
Only days later, Chronister said, the man committed a burglary. He blamed Warren for refusing to file any charges in relation to the shooting. After the incidents, the same man was arrested twice on firearm charges.
Christina Pushaw, the governor’s top spokesperson, blamed rising crime in the state on prosecutors like Warren in a post on Twitter.
“Progressive prosecutors backed by Soros have refused to enforce laws across the country. They treat criminals with deference & victims with contempt,” Pushaw said. “This dereliction of duty is why crime is surging.”
DeSantis also expressed disagreement with Warren’s promise to not enforce laws that prohibit doctors from performing sex change operations on children, or laws that restrict access to abortion.
In a tweet, DeSantis said that Warren “instituted nonenforcement policies and has declared that he will refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like.”
“In Florida, we will not allow a prosecutor to be a law unto himself,” he continued.
It comes after DeSantis’ administration asked the state board that regulates doctors to ban sex change surgery and treatment for children in June. A letter obtained by NBC News revealed how the Health Department made the request after banning Medicaid coverage for “transgender” people looking to access puberty-blocking drugs, hormone replacement therapy, or life-changing “gender-reassignment” surgical procedures.
DeSantis faced extreme pressure from left-wing activists, Democrats, and even state attorney Andrew Warren over the decision – prompting his administration to take action to ensure that all state laws are respected by prosecutors.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.