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From redistricting to Governors acting against the will of the people, we explore, whose vote counts. On this episode of Our Body Politic, host Farai Chideya, speaks with Elected Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell about being suspended by Governor Ron Desantis, and running for office again. Then Karen Grigsby Bates, founding member of NPR’s Code Switch Team AND Our Body Politic co-host, speaks with Michigan State Representative Donavan McKinney about suing over new state legislative maps. We round out the show with Farai speaking with fashion icon Bethann Hardison about her legendary career and her work to diversify the fashion industry.

Due to the following statements made by Monique Worrell on the show regarding the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge 25, we reached out to them for a response:

“Ms. Worrell states that law enforcement and police unions like the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge #25 have “turned” on her because she prosecutes “law enforcement officers who commit crime.”

Ms. Worrell states that law enforcement and police unions started “turning against her” because “they didn’t like that this Black girl came in there and told them what would and would not be tolerated.”

This is what Adam Krudo, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge 25 had to say in response:

“Ms. Worrell’s statements about Law Enforcement Officers and the Fraternal Order of Police Orlando Lodge 25 are completely false and without merit. Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody explained exactly why Ms. Worrell was suspended. Her soft-on-crime policies have had a negative impact on the safety of the community and our officers. The only people who benefited from her administration were the criminals she refused to prosecute.

Perhaps Ms. Worrell should finally take responsibility for her actions and subsequent suspension, instead of continuing to blame others. ”

Due to the following statements made by Monique Worrell on the show regarding the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), we reached out to them for a response:

Ms. Worrell states that Orange County Sheriff John W. Mina did not want to charge Officer Jonathan Mills with battery in an instance of Officer Mills “standing over someone who was in handcuffs, sitting on the ground, poking them in the forehead, repeatedly asking for information” (here is a link regarding the instance she’s referring to.)

Ms. Worrell states that Sheriff Mina didn’t charge Officer Mills with battery because the sheriff “didn’t see it that way” and that, ultimately, Sheriff Mina punished Officer Mills with “4 hours off.”

This is what the OCSO Media Relations Department had to say in response:

“There are a couple of clarifications we’d like to make. Sheriff Mina was elected in November 2018 and left his role as Chief of the Orlando Police Department in October of 2018. 

The case you are referring to in the link provided occurred in May 2019. Sheriff Mina had left OPD six months prior to that.

Ms. Worrell has previously stated that Sheriff Mina, as then-Chief of OPD named Mills “Officer of the Year.” This is also inaccurate. Mills was named Officer of the Year for 2018 – but that happened in 2019, also after Sheriff Mina had left OPD.

Ms. Worrell has also repeatedly accused the Sheriff of colluding with the governor’s office to have her removed. That is simply not true. The Sheriff received an order from the governor’s general counsel in May that requested specific information pursuant to Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution:

SECTION 1. Governor.—

(a) The supreme executive power shall be vested in a governor, who shall be commander-in-chief of all military forces of the state not in active service of the United States. The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, commission all officers of the state and counties, and transact all necessary business with the officers of government. The governor may require information in writing from all executive or administrative state, county or municipal officers upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices. The governor shall be the chief administrative officer of the state responsible for the planning and budgeting for the state.

When Sheriff Mina received this order from the governor’s office, he personally called Ms. Worrell to let her know that he received it AND gave her a copy of the order. At that time, she thanked him for letting her know and asked that we provide a copy of whatever was ultimately sent to the governor’s office, which we did.

We have attached the order that was received by OCSO, and the response to the general counsel in the governor’s office.

Hope this helps provide you with some context for the podcast. Please let us know that you have received this response.”

The DeSantis administration did not respond to our request for comment before publication. We’ll update once they respond.