TAMPA, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit due to neglect of duty on Thursday and made the announcement during a press conference in Hillsborough County.
Flanked by State Attorney General Ashley Moody, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, and former Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, DeSantis said, “State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda.”
Not pulling punches, Dugan took to the podium calling out State Attorney Andrew Warren, “I will try to make this brief, but let me tell you something. Andrew Warren is a fraud. Yeah. Did you get that?”
“He’s a fraud, he has misled the people of Hillsborough County,” Dugan said.
Referencing the riots 2020 riots in Tampa, during the BLM marches, Dugan again called out Warren.
“You remember back during the riots, we arrested 67 people one night. A few weeks later, he (Warren) has a press conference. And what does he say in his press conference? He says that there were no acts of violence,” said Dugan.
“No property damage. He (Warren) must not have read the police reports. There were pictures of a police car, with broken windshields. As the cops tried to get out of their cars, protesters pushed their doors shut on them but wouldn’t allow them out of the car, said Dugan.
“When you say there are no acts of violence, when you say there’s no property damage in a press conference, where I come from you’re lying, okay,” said Dugan. “It’s about accountability and us being able to go out for dinner at night and not feel like we’re gonna get jacked by somebody.”
“He (Warren) has misled our community and it’s time that our governor stepped in,” said Dugan. “This is terrible day that our governor had to come and clean up our mess.”
After less than four years in his position as Chief of Police, Brian Dugan retired on Sept. 10, 2021, capping thirty-one years of service with Tampa PD.
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At the press conference on Thursday, Governor DeSantis announced the appointment of Susan Lopez to serve as State Attorney for the period of suspension. She has most recently been serving as a Judge on the Hillsborough County Court.
“I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the State Attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws,” said Susan Lopez, State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit. “I want to thank the Governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”
Susan Lopez was appointed by Governor DeSantis to serve as a judge on the Hillsborough County Court in 2021. She previously served as Assistant State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit for more than 15 years and as Staff Attorney of the Second District Court of Appeal. She received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and her law degree from Suffolk University.
She is a long-time resident of Tampa and has been involved in the Hillsborough community through a variety of organizations for many years.