Florida Governor Ron DeSantis overturned the will of the majority of Hillsborough County voters (Tampa, etc.) this morning, suspending the twice-elected Democratic State Attorney Andrew Warren. Not coincidentally, Warren has criticized DeSantis’s many power grabs, including a so-called anti-riot law enacted in the wake of the largely peaceful protests of George Floyd’s murder. Warren called the anti-riot law an infringement on the right to peaceful protest and “a solution in search of a problem.”
Warren also criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” law and has said that the new abortion restrictions DeSantis signed into law run afoul of the state constitution’s privacy provision, which has been successfully used to defend abortion rights in the past. So, obviously, Warren had to go.
How seriously does the DeSantis administration take the governor’s obligation to all Floridians, not just the 49.6% who voted for him in 2018? The governor’s press secretary, who functions as DeSantis’s taxpayer-funded internet troll to the tune of $120K per year, teased the announcement last night as if it were a Fox Nation segment from Dollar Store-brand Tucker Carlson:
They kind of give it away when they say ahead of time that the whole purpose of whatever nutty new policy or declaration is solely designed to trigger or own the libs. Governance by trolls. Desantis’s Troll Secretary … pic.twitter.com/TV0XtSIOwB
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) August 4, 2022
DeSantis announced Warren’s suspension after some warm-up acts by local yahoo sheriffs. They and DeSantis went heavy on the ooga-booga. From The Tampa Bay Times:
DeSantis said Thursday that the decision to suspend Warren began when he noticed prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco selectively enforcing crimes. He said he asked his staff to look around Florida “to make sure that that was not going to happen here.”
After his staff spoke with police and prosecutors, Warren’s name repeatedly came up, DeSantis said.
“It all came back to this area here, in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County,” DeSantis said. “And the response that we got was a lot of frustration on the part of law enforcement for criminals being let go and crimes not being prosecuted.”
DeSantis’ order does not cite any specific examples of Warren not prosecuting individual cases, pointing instead to Warren’s public comments on abortion, transgender issues and office policies Warren has adopted.
So, corrupt Republican (but I repeat myself) sheriffs complained about Warren, and DeSantis pounced. He’s following the authoritarian playbook, making an example of a state official to intimidate the others, just as he persecuted Walt Disney World to cow other businesses, suspended a public health official who urged his staff to get a COVID vax and withheld funding from school districts for enforcing mask mandates.
Why did DeSantis and the dirty cops who spoke on his behalf decide today was the day to bring the hammer down on Warren? Maybe it was this:
In 2018, Warren established a conviction review unit in the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. Not long after, evidence submitted to the unit by the Innocence Project led a judge to throw out the conviction of Robert DuBoise, a man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for 37 years… Warren was poised to make a major announcement related to the case on Thursday, but DeSantis’ announcement scuttled those plans.
DeSantis and his comms staff described Warren as “Soros-backed,” a shopworn anti-Semitic dog-whistle that the aforementioned Pushaw has been widely criticized for using. That must have thrilled the Nazi supporters and assorted other fascist DeSantis fans who are increasingly emboldened to march around the state. Here’s Warren’s statement:
Today’s political stunt is an illegal overreach that continues a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambition. It spits in the face of the voters of Hillsborough County who have twice elected me to serve them, not Ron DeSantis.
In our community, crime is low, our Constitutional rights—including the right to privacy—are being upheld, and the people have the right to elect their own leaders—not have them dictated by an aspiring presidential candidate who has shown time and again he feels accountable to no one.
Just because the governor violates your rights, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Amen to that.
I hope Pushaw’s wishes come true and that this does attract widespread media coverage, especially on the choice issue. DeSantis is cross-wise with Florida voters on abortion, which is probably why he nonsensically mentioned crime rates on the West Coast and surrounded himself with sycophantic sheriffs to justify the latest authoritarian stunt. Voters better wake the fuck up before it’s too late.