MIAMI — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended Tampa’s top prosecutor for accusing him of incompetence and dereliction of duty for vowing not to prosecute those seeking or granting abortions.
Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has suspended Andrew H. Warren, Hillsborough County’s elected attorney. In June, Mr. Warren, a Democrat, joined 83 elected prosecutors across the country who pledged not to prosecute those seeking or granting abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida imposed a 15-week abortion ban in April.
Mr DeSantis said Mr Warren’s statement and other actions — including a policy not to prosecute crimes that begin with a meeting between police officers and someone riding a bicycle or on foot and committing a non-criminal offense — amounted to on “incompetence and willfully neglecting his duties,” and that the prosecution’s approach to the job left him with no choice but to suspend him.
Mr. DeSantis appeared at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, where he was flanked by a bunch of uniformed sheriffs and police officers. Law enforcement officials expressed frustration with Mr Warren for failing to prosecute certain crimes. “Andrew Warren is a scammer,” said Brian Dugan, former chief of police for Tampa.
The governor’s landmark decision immediately sparked concern among Democrats who say he has become increasingly harsh.
Mr Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This evolving story will be updated.