Rebekah Jones, a Florida data scientist who is keeping track of COVID-19 information amid the coronavirus pandemic, took to Twitter to reveal that agents allegedly raided her house and pointed guns at her family at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The wife and mother posted a series of tweets explaining the situation, noting that she wouldn’t update the data on Monday.
“At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardware and tech. They were serving a warrant on my computer after DOH filed a complaint. They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids,” read the first tweet.
The post included a video of agents coming into the foyer of her house with their weapons drawn. A woman answered the door with her hands up, and they quickly patted her down and moved her out the door. Then, at least four agents entered, and one of them lifted a gun at a nearby stairwell.
“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,” her message continued.
In two more parts of the thread, Jones indicated that this is what happens to scientists in Florida who try to do their jobs and speak the truth. She explained that the footage of the officers drawing their guns came after she alerted them that her husband and children were upstairs. Jones continued that she has no intention of stopping the work she’s doing, and she noted that she would get a new computer tomorrow to continue updating her site, Florida COVID Action.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Jones was fired from her job as the state’s geographic information system manager at the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection in May. The firing came shortly after she sent an email complaining that the state tried to manipulate COVID-19 data. Jones had created Florida’s coronavirus tracking dashboard.
The search warrant for Jones came after authorities suspected that she was behind a hack of the health department’s website, sending a message on November 10 urging those who worked there to speak up about the situation. The system used to send the message was part of the Florida emergency alert system.
Jones has been outspoken about nationwide pandemic information since her May firing, as well as pandemic cases by school nationwide.