Former Florida COVID-19 data scientist Rebekah Jones pushes back after raid on home – USA TODAY

PALM BEACH, Fla. –  Former Florida coronavirus data chief Rebekah Jones hit back on Thursday towards state police claims that bodycam footage exhibits officers acted appropriately once they raided her home on Monday as a part of an investigation earlier than they took {hardware} she stated accommodates proof of presidency wrongdoing.

“You may see there’s an officer clearly pointing a gun at my face by the window subsequent to my door,” Jones stated in an interview with Florida Right now.

Florida’s Division of Regulation Enforcement launched bodycam footage on Thursday displaying officers attempting to contact Jones by calling her telephone and knocking on her door Monday morning. After they obtained no response, one officer factors a pistol on the door whereas one other holding a sledgehammer calls for Jones open the door. She obeys and exits together with her palms up, sporting a T-shirt and sweatpants.

Who’s Rebekah Jones? Former Florida COVID-19 data scientist had home raided by authorities

The officer together with his gun drawn then enters Jones’ home. “Don’t level that gun at my youngsters!” Jones yells, as her husband and children stroll down the steps of the 2-story home.

“This video demonstrates that FDLE brokers exercised excessive endurance,” Commissioner Richard Swearingen stated Thursday in a press release from FDLE.

“This video doesn’t assist FDLE,” Jones stated within the Florida Right now interview, noting that officers repeated her telephone quantity and tackle, however the division didn’t retract that info from the video when publishing it. The video additionally contains her license plate.

“So this seems to be like an extra try from FDLE to only trigger extra bother for me for releasing the video inside pointing weapons at my children,” Jones stated.

Nationwide media have reported on the raid since Jones recorded it on a digicam and posted it to Twitter on Monday. FDLE’s bodycam video lacks footage after officers went into her home.

‘They pointed weapons at my children’:Florida police raid home of fired data scientist who built state’s COVID-19 dashboard

FDLE stated in its assertion that “brokers afforded Ms. Jones ample time to return to the door and resolve this matter in a civil {and professional} method. As this video will exhibit, any threat or hazard to Ms. Jones or her household was the results of her actions.”

“I had no registered weapons in my identify,” Jones stated. “They know that, they checked that. Me and my husband do not have weapons. I got here downstairs in my pajamas. … they have been there to serve a search warrant for a pc. This was not some unlawful underground drug cartel.”

FDLE was issuing a warrant to Jones to justify seizing her computer systems, smartphones and different electronics as a part of a pc hacking investigation. The division says somebody gained entry to the state’s emergency administration system and despatched a textual content message to 1,750 recipients saying “It is time to converse up earlier than one other 17,000 individuals are useless. You realize that is mistaken. You do not have to be part of this. Be a hero. Communicate out earlier than it is too late.”

FDLE has stated officers traced the message to Jones’ Web Protocol, or IP, tackle, related to Jones’ Comcast account, from which they obtained her tackle.

Jones denies she despatched that message, saying in the course of the Florida Right now assembly that the username and password to log into the emergency administration system had been publicly obtainable on a state web site.

Swearingen, the FDLE commissioner, stated within the division’s Thursday assertion that the media ought to “demand Ms. Jones launch the whole thing of the video she recorded whereas brokers have been current in her home.” 

Rebekah Jones raid:Republican attorney appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis resigns in protest

However Jones stated the recording she posted to Twitter was ended when an officer seen the digicam recording from a desk in her home and shut it off.

For the reason that raid and nationwide protection of it, Jones has raised practically $220,000 on GoFundMe, the place she stated any cash not spent on changing her gear or hiring a lawyer will go to a authorized fund to defend whistleblowers.

Jones has additionally needed to spend among the cash she raised to rent personal safety, now that her private info has been publicized, she stated. “I’ve to have shifting bills fairly quickly as a result of clearly I am not protected within the state.”

To those that consider she is doing all this for consideration, Jones stated within the Florida Right now interview, “You guys (reporters) know greater than anybody that I did not need this.” When the newspaper reported in Could that she had been fired, Jones begged the reporter to retract the story. “I hid for 5 days … considering everybody would simply transfer on.”

The well being division fired Jones in Could for refusing to falsify coronavirus data that will look friendlier to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to reopen companies and public locations, she says in a whistleblower grievance filed in July.

Jones couldn’t elaborate on her proof of falsification as a result of the whistleblower investigation is ongoing, she stated.

“I am being muzzled considerably by authorized recommendation to say ‘Do not present my hand,'” Jones stated. However now that FDLE has her pc gear, she believes they may peruse the data on it.

The {hardware} the state seized accommodates proof of wrongdoing on the highest ranges of the state, Jones stated, however she nonetheless has digital backups of all of it. “They thought that they’d the whole lot however that is why there’s the cloud,” she stated, referencing on-line digital file storage companies.

‘A scary time’: Researchers react to agents raiding home of former Florida COVID-19 data scientist

If Jones had it her method on the Division of Well being, she stated, she would’ve carried out issues otherwise. “I might’ve simply listened to the science,” she stated, referencing points resembling a present lack of masks mandates for colleges in 20 of Florida’s 67 counties.

And like different well being scientists, Jones urged folks towards touring for Christmas. 

“We actually simply have to get via the subsequent few months, let the vaccine do its job, after which slowly get back to regular. It’s arduous to surrender issues… but when we do not skip this one it’s gonna be a whole lot of of individuals’s final Christmas when it would not should be.”

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