DeSantis Suspends Tampa Prosecutor Who Vowed Not to Criminalize Abortion

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MIAMI — Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended the top prosecutor in Tampa on Thursday, accusing him of incompetence and neglect of duty for vowing not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions.

Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, suspended Andrew H. Warren, the elected state attorney of Hillsborough County. In June, Mr. Warren, a Democrat, joined 83 elected prosecutors across the country who vowed not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida imposed a 15-week abortion ban in April.

Mr. DeSantis said that the statement and other actions by Mr. Warren — including a policy of not prosecuting crimes that begin with an encounter between police officers and someone riding a bicycle or on foot and engaging in a noncriminal violation — amounted to “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties,” and that the prosecutor’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 gaggle of uniformed sheriffs and police officials. The law enforcement officials expressed frustration with Mr. Warren for not prosecuting certain crimes. “Andrew Warren is a fraud,” said Brian Dugan, a former chief of the Tampa Police Department.

The startling decision by the governor immediately raised concerns among Democrats who say that he has become increasingly heavy-handed.

Mr. Warren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This developing story will be updated.

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