Armed agents raid Florida home of fired COVID-19 data scientist
'I'll have a new computer tomorrow,' tweeted Rebekah Jones after the early-a.m. raid. 'And then I'm going to get back to work.'
Monday morning, Florida state police raided the home of Rebekah Jones, who was fired from the state’s Department of Health after refusing to “manipulate” COVID-19 data.
According to Jones, the armed agents pointed guns at her and her children. She posted a short video clip of the raid, in which officers are seen entering her Tallahassee house with their guns drawn.
She blamed the raid on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country. They took evidence of corruption at the state level. They claimed it was about a security breach. This was DeSantis. He sent the Gestapo,” she wrote.
“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,” Jones continued. “I’ll have a new computer tomorrow. And then I’m going to get back to work.”
Jones, a data scientist, created the dashboards used to track COVID-19 in real-time early in the pandemic. She was fired in May, she says, for refusing to manipulate the data to make the numbers look better.
She said she refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”
Jones ultimately started a dashboard called The Covid Monitor.
The fired scientist says she is currently seeking a job that is not in Florida. She also launched a GoFundMe to help pay for her legal fees. Created just hours ago, it has reached over half of its $150,000 goal.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement the raid was a seizure of computer equipment at Jones’ Tallahassee home concerning an ongoing investigation.
“FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020, after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health (DOH) regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only,” it read.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports that an FDLE investigator linked Jones’ IP address to a text message that went out to 1,750 people via “a suspected breach of the custom-made communications system for emergency management.”
The message allegedly read, “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”