TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida police brandishing firearms raided the dwelling of Rebekah Jones, the previous point out Department of Wellness staff who designed the state’s considerably-praised COVID-19 dashboard prior to getting fired more than what she mentioned was refusing to manipulate information.
“They pointed a gun in my facial area. They pointed guns at my little ones,” Jones tweeted shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.
Jones — who released her individual COVID-19 dashboard soon after she was fired, and used crowdsourcing to elevate income to aid it — explained agents knocked on her door around 8:30 a.m., took all her “components and tech” soon after showing her a warrant based mostly on a criticism submitted by the Florida Division of Wellbeing.
A movie accompanying the write-up exhibits Florida Division of Regulation Enforcementagents in vests entering the home with guns drawn, asking who else was in the household. She mentioned her spouse and two kids had been inside as they escorted her out of the residence.
The movie displays an agent entering the dwelling with his gun drawn, contacting for her husband to appear down the stairs. When an agent explained to her to serene down, Jones stated, “He just pointed a gun at my children!”
FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger despatched a assertion confirming the seizure of laptop or computer products at Jones’ Tallahassee household and said agents are investigating.
“FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020 soon after receiving a criticism from the Division of Health and fitness relating to unauthorized obtain to a Office of Well being messaging technique which is component of an crisis warn process, to be utilized for emergencies only,” Plessinger stated.
Plessinger mentioned when brokers arrived, they knocked and waited for Jones to respond to the doorway.
“Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. Just after many tries and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones inevitably came to the doorway and allowed agents to enter,” Plessinger said. “Ms. Jones’ household was upstairs when brokers built entry into the home.”
The investigation is active, she extra.
“As in all situations, our position is to identify the info of what occurred and a Condition Lawyer determines regardless of whether or not prices are filed.”
The FDLE affidavit for the search warrant claimed a exclusive agent spoke to a DOH formal with the Preparedness and Reaction business about a suspected breach of the custom made-created communications program for crisis management.
An unknown subject matter obtained access to the process and despatched out a team text declaring: “It’s time to converse up right before another 17,000 men and women are dead. You know this is completely wrong. You will not have to be a element of this. Be a hero. Discuss out prior to it is really too late.”
The textual content information was sent from the ESF-8 mail account, the state’s crisis guidance operate for community health and fitness and healthcare companies, to 1,750 recipients in advance of the computer software seller could cease the message from staying transmitted additional, the affidavit reported.
The ESF-8 account is utilised by several folks from numerous businesses, including DOH and Emergency Administration.
“After they are no for a longer time linked with ESF-8 they are no for a longer time licensed to obtain the multi-user team,” the FDLE affidavit explained. All approved customers use the exact user identify and password.
Jones advised a USA Today Network-Florida reporter she is not a hacker.
“I do not know how to do that stuff,” she said.
Jones was fired for insubordination in May perhaps just after being reprimanded numerous periods, point out officers reported. Her paperwork doesn’t condition a result in for her staying fired. But she statements she was fired for refusing to manipulate well being facts to solid Florida in a far more favorable light-weight.
She tweeted: “They took my cellphone and the personal computer I use each individual working day to put up the circumstance figures in Florida, and college instances for the entire nation. They took proof of corruption at the condition level. They claimed it was about a stability breach. This was (Gov.) DeSantis. He sent the gestapo.”
Jones also said she has backups of the info and information that electrical power her internet sites that have been saved on the seized hardware.
“This is what happens to experts who do their task truthfully,” Jones tweeted. “This is what occurs to folks who discuss fact to electric power.”
Contributing: Alessandro Sassoon, Florida Now Chris Persaud, Palm Beach front Write-up