Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday removed Tampa’s elected prosecutor, Andrew Warren, for making a similar promise not to use his office to go after men and women who seek or provide abortions or gender-affirming healthcare providers. DeSantis also charged that Warren had failed to fully utilize his authority as the prosecutor in conducting investigations.
“It is unacceptable for any prosecutor in Florida to refuse to enforce the law,” DeSantis said. “I have no tolerance for this type of behavior.”
The governor’s office said that Warren would be replaced by a special prosecutor, Mark Ober, who will serve until Warren’s term expires in January 2021.
This isn’t the first time DeSantis has taken aim at Warren. In May, the governor vetoed $1.7 million in state funding for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office, citing Warren’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against two men who left an Islamic center during prayer services.
DeSantis has been a vocal critic of so-called “sanctuary cities” for immigrants, and has pushed for laws that would ban them. Tampa is not a sanctuary city, but Warren’s office has declined to cooperate with some of the governor’s requests for information about criminal suspects who are in the country illegally.
It’s unclear what specific cases DeSantis was referring to when he said Warren had not pursued criminals to the fullest extent of his powers. But the governor’s office pointed to a recent case in which Warren declined to prosecute three men who were arrested for trespassing at an abandoned house.
The men, who are members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, said they were trying to call attention to the plight of the homeless. Warren’s office said there was not enough evidence to prosecute them.
DeSantis has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies, and he has aligned himself with other Republican governors who have taken similar stances.
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