January 17, 2021

Florida State Police Raid Home Of COVID Whistleblower, Point Guns At Her & Her Family, Seize All Her Computer Equipment

By Mike Masnick
This is insane. Earlier this year, we wrote about Rebekah Jones, the data scientist working for Florida, who put together that state’s COVID-19 database (that had received widespread praise), and who was fired by the state for her failure to fake the data to make it look like Florida was handling the pandemic better than it actually was. Governor Ron DeSantis had made it clear he wanted data showing good results in order to justify reopening the state.

As Jones herself explained after being fired:

I was asked by DOH leadership to manually change numbers. This was a week before the reopening plan officially kicked off into phase one. I was asked to do the analysis and present the findings about which counties met the criteria for reopening. The criteria followed more or less the White House panel’s recommendations, but our epidemiology team also contributed to that as well. As soon as I presented the results, they were essentially the opposite of what they had anticipated. The whole day while we’re having this kind of back and forth changing this, not showing that, the plan was being printed and stapled right in front of me. So it was very clear at that point that the science behind the supposedly science-driven plan didn’t matter because the plan was already made.

Since then, Jones has been running Florida COVID Action, which is a dashboard of Florida COVID information, like the one she used to run for the state.

And apparently Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis couldn’t allow that to stand. This afternoon Rebekah posted a short Twitter thread, with video, showing Florida state police raiding her home. As she notes, when they asked her who else was in the home, she told them that her husband and children were upstairs, and they pulled out their guns:

1/There will be no update today.

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.. pic.twitter.com/DE2QfOmtPU

— Rebekah Jones (@GeoRebekah) December 7, 2020

This is horrifying on so many levels. Why was her home raided? Why did they pull out guns? Why did they do it after she told them that it was her children upstairs? Why did they seize all of her electronics equipment? Why are they doing any of this?

Jones has been doing everything to better inform the public of what’s happening in the middle of a pandemic, and this is the thanks she gets? Having her home raided by the police and having guns drawn on her children?

This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly.

This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.

I tell them my husband and my two children are upstairs… and THEN one of them draws his gun.

On my children.

This is Desantis’ Florida.

— Rebekah Jones (@GeoRebekah) December 7, 2020

This is not supposed to happen. This should not happen. It is horrifying and I hope that Jones is able to retain powerful legal help to fight back against this clear violation of her civil liberties, and a clear authoritarian overreach by Governor DeSantis.

Source:: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20201207/14591845837/florida-state-police-raid-home-covid-whistleblower-point-guns-her-her-family-seize-all-her-computer-equipment.shtml