Rebekah Jones, the Florida knowledge scientist embroiled in a dispute with the state’s Republican governor over the dealing with of coronavirus figures, had her house raided on Monday by armed police who confiscated her computer systems.
In a stream of posts on Twitter, Jones posted a video of the raid that confirmed state police carrying handguns escorting her out of her Tallahassee house. She could be heard saying: “He simply pointed a gun at my youngsters,” along with her husband and two youngsters apparently upstairs on the time.
Jones claimed in her tweets that the raid was the work of Ron DeSantis, the governor with whom she has clashed repeatedly since she was fired by the state’s division of well being in Could in a row over Covid-19 knowledge. She in contrast the incident to sending “the gestapo”, including: “That is what occurs to scientists who do their job truthfully. That is what occurs to individuals who converse reality to energy.”
The Florida division of legislation enforcement confirmed they’d entered Jones’s home on a search warrant. However in an announcement the division mentioned the motion was associated to a current pc hack of the well being division web site, wherein emergency response coordinators had been despatched an unauthorised message.
Based on the Tampa Bay Occasions, the message urged the coordinators to “converse up earlier than one other 17,000 individuals are useless. You recognize that is incorrect. Be a hero. Communicate out earlier than it’s too late.”
On Monday night time, Jones appeared on CNN and denied that she was the writer of the unauthorised message. She mentioned she final had entry to any pc system throughout the state was six months in the past, including: “I’m not a hacker, I’m not that tech savvy.”
She informed CNN she had come to the conclusion that the raid had been motivated by a need to root out her supply throughout the state paperwork, which is why police took away her cellphone. “On my cellphone is each communication I’ve ever had with somebody who works with the state who has come to me in confidence and informed me issues that might get them fired,” she mentioned.
The scientist had a direct message for the governor: “DeSantis wants to fret much less about what I’m writing about and extra concerning the people who find themselves sick and dying in his state. Doing this to me won’t cease me from reporting the info, ever.”
Jones was dismissed from her job operating Florida’s Covid-19 database on the identical day that DeSantis ordered the opening up of the state following lockdown measures. The choice to permit seashores, eating places, cinemas and different public locations to reopen was blamed for a later surge in circumstances of an infection.
Jones mentioned she was faraway from the put up as a result of she had resisted efforts to censor the info she was presenting on the state’s official coronavirus website. Since her ousting, she has compiled her personal each day tally of coronavirus circumstances in Florida that’s extra detailed than the state’s personal database. She has not too long ago expanded her work to incorporate info on circumstances in faculties nationwide.
In an interview with the Guardian in August, she mentioned: “They’re not listening to the scientists, they’ve no plan to launch knowledge, they’re simply going to let all people fend for themselves.”
Referring to the official line that she was dismissed for insubordination, she mentioned: “If I used to be insubordinate to say I’m not going to control knowledge, to say it’s protected to reopen when it’s not, then, sure, I put on insubordination as a badge of honor.”
DeSantis has adopted the same method to the pandemic as Donald Trump. Just like the US president, the Florida governor has claimed success in his dealing with of the illness even when the statistics have screamed in any other case.
On Monday, the state’s personal official knowledge recorded 7,711 new circumstances of Covid-19. The state has now endured 1,065,785 cases of an infection – the third-highest quantity within the nation, behind California and Texas.
A complete of 19,282 Floridians have died.