TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement served a search warrant on Monday at the home of the former data scientist who claimed she was wrongly-fired because she wouldn’t manipulate coronavirus data, an FDLE spokesperson confirmed.
Rebekah Jones, who designed and managed the Florida Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard, was fired in May. At the time, Jones said she believed it was because she was too transparent. Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, called Jones “insubordinate.”
Jones tweeted a video Monday evening saying “state police” showed up at her home Monday morning and took “all my hardware and tech.” In her tweet, Jones says agents were serving a warrant on her computer after the Department of Health filed a complaint.
8 On Your Side reached out to the FDLE about the tweet. A spokesperson confirmed in an email that agents served a warrant at Jones’ home in Tallahassee.
“FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020 after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only,” the email said.
According to the spokesperson, FDLE agents believe someone at the Tallahassee home where they performed the search warrant illegally accessed the system.
Jones says in her tweet that agents, “pointed a gun in my face” and added, “they pointed guns at my kids.”
FDLE sent the following statement to 8 On Your Side about the warrant:
“When agents arrived, they knocked on the door and called Ms. Jones in an attempt to minimize disruption to the family. Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter.”
After being fired from the Department of Health, Jones launched her own coronavirus dashboard and later launched a national dashboard to track school-related cases. Jones posted a second tweet saying agents took her phone and computer she uses to post that data each day.
She also claimed the agents “took evidence of corruption at the state level.”
“This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly,” she wrote. “This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.”
The spokesperson who responded to 8 On Your Side’s inquiry told us the investigation into the situation is active.
“As in all cases, our role is to determine the facts of what happened and a state attorney determines whether or not charges are filed,” the spokesperson said.
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