Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended a George Soros-backed prosecutor for failing to enforce state laws and will seek his dismissal.
DeSantis said Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren — who oversees the Tampa Bay area — will be removed from his post immediately.
At a press conference Thursday, DeSantis said Warren had “publicly put himself above the law” while frustrating local deputies and citizens with a soft-on-crime approach.
DeSantis said Warren directed his office to let serious offenses slide and that he vowed not to enforce any current or future laws regarding abortion or gender-reassignment surgery on minors.
The governor ripped permissive prosecutors around the country Thursday and said cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have deteriorated as a result.
“We are not going to allow the pathogen that’s been around the country of ignoring the law, we are not going to allow that to get a foothold here in the state of Florida,” he said. “We are going to make sure our laws are enforced and no individual prosecutor puts himself above the law.”
Susan Lopez will step in as the new state attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit, DeSantis said.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister lauded DeSantis’ action Thursday, asserting that his deputies and residents had tired of Warren’s soft-on-crime approach.
As an example, Chronister said Warren’s office declined to bring a case against an alleged gang member who shot a victim and then fired into a home where he fled.
That residence, Chronister said, was filled with women and children.
One of the occupants, he said, now lives in a motel because she fears returning to the house with the shooter still on the streets.
The woman feels “as though her status as a victim doesn’t matter and the state attorney simply does not care,” Chronister said.
He noted that Warren’s office said it wasn’t filing charges because the depositions would be too onerous.
Chronister said Warren acts as a “supreme authority” by “reducing charges, dropping cases and singlehandedly determining what crimes will be legal or illegal in our county.”
DeSantis argued that failing to enforce laws causes disproportionate damage to poorer communities.
He cited the recall of former San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin in making his point.
“The places that voted to keep him were affluent communities who are not bearing the brunt of the policies,” he said. “The places that voted to recall him were the working-class communities because they bear the burden of ignorance and refusal to enforce the law.”
Warren, a Democrat, was elected to office in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.