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Behind the scenes of the controversy in Florida over Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend a pro-abortion prosecutor

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reported that he suspended prosecutor Warren (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Thursday, the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis suspended Tampa District Attorney-elect Andrew Warrenafter he vowed not to use his office to persecute people seeking abortions or doctors performing gender reassignment procedures. The president accused the prosecutor for not denouncing the criminals from his position and, at a press conference in Tampa, ruled: “Taking the position that it has veto powers over state laws is untenable.” This position led him to appear this Friday among the main Twitter trends, among those who debated his decision and were in favor of the prosecutor and among those who shared the Republican’s point of view.

The governor made the decision to suspend the Democrat, who was elected twice by Hillsborough voters and drew criticism not only from the community, but also from opposition officials. He even the Senator Lauren Book assured that DeSantis behaved more like a dictator than like the governor he is in the United States. Under the same direction, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a Democratic candidate for governor, gave her opinion, and described the decision as “a politically motivated attack against a respected and democratically elected prosecutor”.

Warren has positioned himself in the past as an advocate for criminal justice reform and also for the overturning of wrongful convictions. Regarding suspension, Florida law establishes that a governor has the power to remove a county official, as long as he commits illegal acts, misconduct, negligence, incompetence, drunkenness or inability to perform his functions. Also, the Florida Senate can reinstate the suspended official.

In the midst of the controversy, The Governor of Florida appointed Susan Lopez as state attorney.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reported that he suspended prosecutor Warren (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

What put the elected prosecutor in check was his position on abortion, which did not coincide with a new state law that prohibits it in the state after 15 weeks. Also, last year, DeSantis signed the ban so that transgender women and girls could not participate in school sports. She also sought to ban gender reassignment surgeries on minors.

This is not the first time that the governor of Florida has taken actions of this type with certain officials. In one of his first decisions, he suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who oversaw the law enforcement response to the Parkland High School shooting.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

2016 marked the first time Warren took office as a prosecutor and he was re-elected in 2020, with the most votes in Hillsborough County. However, he has grown increasingly critical of the current governor, first even taking a stand against moves to allow churches to operate in Florida after the arrest of a Tampa pastor who defied an order not to attend Mass in person. He also announced that he would not prosecute those detained in a George Floyd protest..

However, despite all this background, what became the main trigger was Warren’s position on abortion and transgender care. After the United States Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade thereby eliminating constitutional protections for abortion, Warren signed a Justice and Equity charter with a commitment not to use the resources of the criminal justice system to prosecute those who request, provide or support the practice.

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