“They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids,” the scientist wrote on Twitter.
With guns in hand, Florida law enforcement entered Rebekah Jones house on Monday and served her a search warrant, to seize her electronical devices.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that Jones was under investigation since early November, when the state’s emergency alert health system was unauthorizedly used.
According to Jones Twitter:
“This was DeSantis. He sent the gestapo… This is Desantis’ Florida.”
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement press release:
“Our investigation began last month following a complaint by Florida Department of Health that a person illegally hacked into their emergency alert system. As part of our investigation, FDLE agents served a search warrant this morning at the Centerville Court residence where Ms. Jones lives after determining the home was the location that the unauthorized message was sent from. Agents knocked and called Ms. Jones both announcing the search warrant and encouraging her to cooperate. Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. After several attempts, Ms. Jones allowed agents inside. Agents entered the home in accordance with normal protocols and seized several devices that will be forensically analyzed. At no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home. Any evidence will be referred to the State Attorney for prosecution as appropriate.”
Jones made officers aware that her children were upstairs at the beginning of the security footage. Officers can be seen 20-seconds into the footage aiming a gun up the stairs, where her children were.
“Do not point that gun at my children! He just pointed a gun at my children,” Jones says in destress.
Jones claims that she has not accessed any of Department of Health systems in the last six months, according to BayNews9.
If Jones did indeed send the message, she could be in violation of both The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Wiretap laws. The CFAA was not just created to target hackers, but also left broad enough to be used against researchers as well.
Jones lawyer, Lawrence Walters, released a statement:
“The actions of Florida law enforcement captured on my client’s video depicts unnecessarily reckless and aggressive behavior in the execution of a search warrant for computers. Our client was fully cooperative yet had guns pointed at her and her family. We are concerned that these actions may be retaliation in response to her whistleblower claim against the Department of Health and her criticism of the Governor’s COVID 19 response.”
Jones was fired from her position, as a Covid-19 Geographic Information Systems manager, back in May. During her employment, she raised questions about Florida’s Covid-19 data being accurate, which lead to numerous reprimands. She was fired for violating Health Department policy by making public remarks about the data she was working with.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Jones spoke to numerous media outlets about how her Health Department managers urged her to manipulate the data that was being publicly released to make the pandemic appear less catastrophic.
The data that her and the team she was working with was critical information, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was in the process of making decisions on whether to remove Florida’s Covid-19 restrictions.
According to Florida Today:
“Rebekah Jones said in an email to FLORIDA TODAY that she single-handedly created two applications in two languages, four dashboards, six unique maps with layers of data functionality for 32 variables covering a half a million lines of data. Her objective was to create a way for Floridians and researchers to see what the COVID-19 situation was in real time.”
This abuse of authority is not going to stop Jones, according to her Twitter.
“If Desantis thought pointing a gun in my face was a good way to get me to shut up, he’s about to learn just how wrong he was.”
Her website, which updates daily, can be found here.