By Christine Sexton, The News Service of Florida
State police agents on Monday raided the home of a former Florida Department of Health employee who helped build the state’s first COVID-19 dashboard.
Rebekah Jones was fired earlier this year after complaining that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration was manipulating COVID-19 data to make the virus appear less prevalent as the governor pushed to reopen Florida’s economy.
Shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, Jones posted a tweet showing video of armed police entering her home.
Jones’ Twitter post alerted followers that she would not have an update on a new COVID-19 website she established following her firing from the health agency in May, because state agents had seized her computer and phone.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Monday’s raid in a prepared statement provided to The News Service of Florida.
The video posted by Jones shows officers brandishing guns and telling Jones to exit her Tallahassee home. The video also shows a law enforcement officer yelling at Jones’ husband to “come down the stairs now.”
Jones can be heard saying in a high-pitched voice, “He just pointed a gun at my children.”
According to the statement provided by FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger, FDLE launched an investigation on Nov. 10 after receiving a complaint from the health department that someone at Jones’ residence illegally accessed a state emergency-alert messaging system.
In an attempt to “minimize disruption to the family,” Plessinger said that agents knocked on the door at Jones’ home and called her phone.
“Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter,” the statement said. “Ms. Jones’ family was upstairs when agents made entry into the home.”
In a subsequent Twitter post, Jones accused the DeSantis administration of sending the “gestapo” after her.
“This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly. This is what happens to people who speak truth to power,” Jones tweeted, adding that she would have “a new computer tomorrow” and that she would get back to work on her website.
“If DeSantis thought pointing a gun in my face was a good way to get me to shut up, he’s about to learn just how wrong he was,” she wrote.
Monday’s raid is the latest confrontation between Jones and the agency where she once worked.
Jones once served as the geographic information systems manager in the health department’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. She told Florida Today in May that she was fired for refusing to manipulate COVID-19 data.
The story made national headlines and top Florida Democrats called for an investigation.
But DeSantis downplayed Jones’ role in developing the health department’s COVID-19 online dashboard, saying she isn’t an epidemiologist and accusing her of insubordination.
The administration also brought to the media’s attention criminal charges that had been filed against Jones last year.
A review of Leon County court documents shows that Jones was charged in July 2019 with two counts of cyberstalking and one count of sexual cyber harassment. According to court records, one of the cases Jones is still open.
Jones filed a whistleblower complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations in July.
Right from the Democratic Party’s playbook under histrionics…sigh.
Sounds like a lousy mother. Why wouldn’t you secure your children so they aren’t traumatized, and cooperate with the police if you are innocent?
Affidavits will be pretty standard: investigation from State level would ID the Internet carrier from whom the hacked message came from and IP address of the message’s computer- easily obtainable. From there State would seek a information from the Internet carrier on location of the IP address. This takes about a week or so, depending on level of priority it is assigned. Once obtained, a search warrant would be issued for that physical address to only obtain the computer. Standard procedures and by the book. What is telling is the almost 30 minute period, Jones took to answer the door. LE would be increasingly concerned of what’s happening behind closed doors. Are occupants arming themselves for a confrontation? Probably LE called in for more reinforcements in case a standoff ensued. We need a timeline of events to know for sure.
This girl is nothing more than a self promoted actress, a drama queen. I suspect she’s really enjoying playing the part of a self-righteous feminist out to destroy the patriarchy who has held her back for so long.
She’s simple seeking personal profit/advancement from stirring up this drama and commotion so people will traffic her website/twitter/etc.. common with this crap.
Before this is all over it will be found Ms. Jones was used as a scapegoat by political leadership that cared more about political party reputation than Public health and safety.
Do you know how difficult it is to fire a state employee. This woman has managed to be fired twice in two different states. Let’s also talk about her Cyber stalking with revenge porn. Judges don’t sign warrants for scapegoating.
Seems like Ms. Jones is trying to make herself into a victim. When FDLE serves you a lawful search warrant answer the door the first time, do not ignore and stall them for 20 minutes. She has no idea if she thinks FDLE is like the ‘Gestapo’.
Another fine product of the Public Indoctrination System, the NaziCrat Party, Fakebook, Instascam, Twidiot, Foolgle, et al…
I would love to see both the affidavit for the search warrant as well as the probable cause affidavits for her stalking and robbery charges!