A Florida-based voting rights group is planning to protest Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell (D), saying the governor “abused his power and undercut the democratic process.”
Equal Grounds is planning to protest outside the Orlando City Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday to rail against DeSantis’s Wednesday decision to suspend Worrell, according to a flyer posted by Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) on X, formerly known as Twitter. The voting rights group called on DeSantis to reverse his decision and to “stop using Black Women and voters as a pawn in his pursuit of the White House.”
“This reckless pattern of removing political opponents from office is not how we should govern in Florida,” the group said in a statement. “In his announcement of her suspension, the Governor claims that Attorney Worrell ‘abused discretion.’ Not only is that a matter of opinion, but the discretion Attorney Worrell exercises is afforded to her by the state constitution and is consistent with the other 19 State Attorneys throughout the state.”
Worrell was elected to serve as the state attorney for Florida’s 9th Judicial District in 2020 and was running for reelection in 2024.
The Florida governor suspended Worrell on Wednesday, saying her “administration of criminal justice in the 9th Circuit has been clearly and fundamentally derelict so as to constitute both neglect of duty and incompetence.” Worrell criticized DeSantis over her suspension, labeling him as a “weak governor.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida blasted DeSantis for the move. Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, said the Florida governor “will do whatever he can in order to keep his power and control over the state, regardless of what the people want or how they voted.”
“Ousting elected officials because you disagree with their leadership and installing hand-picked individuals to take over their job responsibilities is what happens in authoritarian regimes, not democratic nations,” Gross said in a statement. “In a democracy, you can’t just remove elected officials who you don’t like. Elections matter. This matters. The whole country is watching.”
Florida Democrats were quick to criticize DeSantis’s decision, with many leaders labeling the move as racially and politically motivated. Frost, who represents Worrell’s circuit in Congress, said he plans to attend the planned protest.
“WE WILL NOT stand for this blatant abuse of power and fascism in our state. It’s a sad day in Orange County & Florida,” Frost said on X.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.