Florida governor decries data scientist’s claims agents mishandled search of her home

Gov. Ron DeSantis asked about Rebekah Jones at news conference

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Donald Trump at White House vaccine summit
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Donald Trump at White House vaccine summit

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke for the first time Friday about the former state Department of Health employee who claims Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents pointed their weapons at her children while serving a warrant at her home.

On Monday, state agents served a search warrant at the home of Rebekah Jones, an ex-health department employee. According to FDLE, she had been under investigation since early November when someone illegally accessed the state’s emergency alert health system.

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The warrant was filed after a complaint from the Florida Department of Health. According to the warrant, Jones’ IP address was connected to a message sent in November on the alert system. The web interface is accessed by state employees using the same username and password, the warrant shows.

Jones was fired from the Florida Department of Health in May for unauthorized public comments about the state’s COVID-19 data. She is credited with creating the state dashboard that details Florida coronavirus data. After her firing, she created her own dashboard.

The FDLE released about 30 minutes of Tallahassee police body camera video Thursday, which shows agents knocking on Jones’ door for more than 20 minutes. Agents were about to force entry before she opened the door with her hands up, the video shows.

Jones claims agents pointed their firearms at her children, but no video has yet to prove that.

DeSantis was incredulous about Jones comparing the agents and police to Nazi police.

“These people did their jobs. They’ve been smeared as the Gestapo for doing their jobs,” DeSantis said. “They did a search warrant. Why did they do a search warrant on the house? Because her IP address was linked to the felony. What were they supposed to do, just ignore it?”

DeSantis also denied that the FDLE agents entering Jones’ home to serve a search warrant was a “raid.”

“It was not a raid. They were serving valid process in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said snapping at a reporter. “They did it with integrity, they did it with honor, and to say it’s a raid is disinformation.”

Jones responded to the FDLE video Thursday after its release saying, “Bodycam footage released by police shows they waited about 13 minutes outside while I got dressed and were ready to break my door down with a sledgehammer.”

DeSantis slammed Jones’ character, saying “she’s got issues” and her “conspiracy theory” about the Department of Health was unfounded.

Jones said she was fired because she refused to alter the state’s COVID-19 data.

“She was fired because she wasn’t doing a good job,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis made his comments to reporters Friday after the governor hosted a panel on COVID-19 and mental health.

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