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For the second time in a year, far-right Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis suspended an elected Florida prosecutor from office, Monique Worrell, in a move that challenges the constitutional rights of those who voted for her.
Central Florida State Attorney for the Ninth Circuit Monique Worrell became only the second Black woman and the first of Carribbean descent to be elected State Attorney after her November 2020 win, according to her bio.
Meanwhile, DeSantis sidestepped the will of voters in Orange County, Florida who elected her when he announced her suspension from office, citing neglect of duty and failure to adequately prosecute gun violence offenders who went on to commit more crimes, Politico reported Wednesday morning.
“Prosecutors have a duty to faithfully enforce the law. One’s political agenda cannot trump this solemn duty,” DeSantis said during a Wednesday morning press conference announcing the suspension.
DeSantis has continued to create high-profile controversy and racial animus as he remains far below fellow Republican Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential Primary polls.
In a statement, State Attorney Worrell responded to the suspension, calling DeSantis a “weak dictator.”
Why did DeSantis remove State Attorney Monique Worrell?
In his reasoning for the suspending Worrell, DeSantis cited a case involving a man who was recently killed by a Florida SWAT team after he shot two Orlando police officers over the weekend. Daton Viel was out on bond at the time despite already having been charged with sexual assault.
Amid criticisms from law enforcement, State Attorney Worrell explained that Florida law and Florida judges set bond amounts, not her, according to an interview with WKMG news in Orlando.
“Hindsight is 20-20, right? There’s any number of things that can be done on any given day that could make an outcome be different. In this case those things weren’t done, and here we are today,” Worrell told WKMG.
She’s also been criticized for her handling of the case in which a man shot three people earlier this year in Orange County, including a journalist.
DeSantis suspends State Attorney, replaces her with conservative
Meanwhile, DeSantis suspends Worrell, replacing her with former Orlando Judge Andrew Bain, a Black conservative and member of the Federalist Society, to serve as State Attorney during the suspension.
“Sadly, instead of protecting the righteous from the unjust, the State Attorney’s Office has allowed lawlessness to take root in our community. My goal as as State Attorney is to restore order,” Bain said on Wednesday.
Ultimately, despite accusing State Attorney Worrell of having a political agenda, DeSantis replaced her with someone who supports his own personal political views.
This suspension is the second one by DeSantis in a year. State Attorney Andrew Warren, who vowed to not prosecute abortions, recently lost his lawsuit against DeSantis after a Florida Supreme Court ruling.