Aug 5, 2022 - News

Florida officials speak out after state attorney Andrew Warren suspended

A screenshot of a Tweet from Mayor Jane Castor about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' suspension of State Attorney Andrew Warren.
Screenshot courtesy of @JaneCastor's Twitter feed

"Does my vote not count?" a sign read outside at a protest outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse Thursday evening.

  • The question echoed throughout Tampa Bay, and Democrat politicians voiced their outrage.

"​​What's next after this if we roll over?" Hillsborough County Commissioner Mariella Smith asked the crowd.

  • "This is our January 6 moment," Commissioner Pat Kemp added.

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell told Axios she hopes the action mobilizes voters ahead of the Aug. 23 primary. Not just Democrats, but, "anyone who cares about government institutions and keeping people in power in check."

Between the lines: After watching Warren's ousting, some were afraid to speak out.

  • The Tampa Bay Times struggled to find anyone in current law enforcement or criminal justice officials who regularly work with Warren who would comment.
  • "Just devastating," one criminal defense attorney told Ben, on the condition of anonymity because he still works in the district. "Warren was after justice, not convictions."

More reactions from Tampa Bay-area people and groups:

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor: "The governor's actions constitute an extreme abuse of power — a new low for DeSantis who fails our great state with his mean-spirited, selfish and fiscally-irresponsible focus on his political ambitions alone."

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist: “This is a guy (DeSantis) who went to Harvard and Yale and he doesn’t understand how to read the constitution.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor: "Removing a duly elected official should be based on egregious actions — not political statements. In a free state, voters should choose their elected officials."

Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board: "​​This putsch was about energizing the Trump base on abortion by ousting a high-profile Democrat that Hillsborough voters elected twice, in 2016 and 2020, both times on a progressive platform against a Republican opponent."

Miriam Aroni Krinsky, head of Fair and Just Prosecution, which organized the prosecutors' joint statement on gender-affirming health care: "Governors don't hand-pick elected prosecutors, the voters do. With this outrageous overreach, Gov. DeSantis is sending a clear message that the will of the people of Hillsborough County matters less than his own political agenda."

Go deeper: Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren says he won't leave

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