TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa’s former top prosecutor is fighting back, saying he’s going to court to get his job back.
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit. The governor cited incompetence and neglect of duty, saying that Warren “put himself publicly above the law.”
Warren, who was elected twice in Hillsborough County, said he was removed from office illegally. He said he locked up the bad guys and protected the community. And he said he has the data to prove it.
“Let me be clear, this isn’t about what I’ve done as state attorney, it’s just not,” Warren said Monday.
When asked if he thinks he’s going to get his job back, Warren told us, “absolutely.”
According to Warren, an armed deputy removed him from office Thursday. Around the same time, just a few miles away, former and current Hillsborough law enforcement praised the governor’s decision to suspend the state attorney.
“The governor’s suspension of State Attorney Warren is not political to me,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
“Andrew Warren is a fraud,” said Tampa’s former police chief Brian Dugan.
8 On Your Side asked Warren why law enforcement officials he worked with on a daily basis appear to have lost faith in him.
“I know Sheriff Chronister, our families know each other,” said Warren. “I can’t imagine the pressure that the sheriff was under to say some of those things.”
“Regarding Chief Dugan, I’ve gotten along with three different Tampa police chiefs,” Warren added. “He’s a disgruntled old cop who is annoyed because we didn’t prosecute peaceful protesters.”
Officials at Thursday’s news conference insisted Warren was soft on crime. They accused the progressive prosecutor of endangering the community.
“We’ve been aggressive and tough on violent criminals, repeat offenders,” Warren told us on Monday.
He said he can prove it, too.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement tracks the index crime rate for each county. It’s a measurement of serious property offenses and violent crime.
Warren said he’s gone through the state’s excel reports from the past five years. They show crime has dropped in Hillsborough County significantly.
“Our crime rate has gone down every year since I’ve been in office, it’s down 30%,” said Warren. “In fact, it’s lower than some of those surrounding counties where the sheriff’s moseyed on into Hillsborough to join the governor at his press conference.”
Warren also told us he took action when police brought a case to his office, filing charges more than eight out of 10 times. He said that’s higher than the state average.
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