ARMED cops stormed the house of a fired knowledge scientist on Monday whereas her children have been inside, suspecting she hacked into the state’s emergency response system.
Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement mentioned that Rebekah Jones, who was fired for unauthorized public feedback concerning the knowledge, has been beneath investigation since early November when somebody illegally accessed the state’s emergency alert well being system.
Rebekah Jones, 30, was fired in MightCredit score: Twitter
Jones was fired from her put up in Might after she raised questions on Florida’s Covid-19 knowledge.
She had been reprimanded a number of instances and was in the end fired for violating Well being Division coverage by making public remarks concerning the info, state information present.
Since her firing, she has lit up social media with posts criticizing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and his state businesses.
For months, she has tried to advertise herself as a sufferer who was fired for telling the reality, though there is no such thing as a proof that helps her claims.
Early within the pandemic, Jones wrote weblog posts and reached out to media shops and researchers sowing doubt concerning the credibility of the information now that she is now not in that position.
She mentioned Well being Division managers urged her to govern info to color a rosier image and that she pushed again.
Footage reveals her home being raidedCredit score: Twitter
A number of officers enter the homeCredit score: Twitter
The information was essential because the governor was making an attempt to make extremely controversial selections on whether or not to reopen Florida’s economic system
State well being officers strenuously deny any concern with the knowledge’s accuracy.
The workplace of Governor Ron DeSantis declined to remark to the AP on Monday night time, however the Republican governor has beforehand mentioned Jones had a sample of “insubordination” and may have been fired sooner.
Brokers served the search warrant on her Tallahassee house after receiving a criticism from the Division of Well being concerning unauthorized entry to its emergency alert system, in accordance with an announcement from FDLE.
“Brokers consider somebody on the residence on Centerville Courtroom illegally accessed the system,” spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger mentioned in an announcement.
Jones tweeted concerning the incidentCredit score: Twitter
Jones initially refused to reply the door for 20 minutes and hung up when brokers referred to as her, in accordance with FDLE.
In accordance with video footage Jones posted of the incident, a number of officers who entered Jones’ house had their weapons drawn. One pointed his gun up the steps as authorities urged Jones to name her husband and youngsters downstairs.
The officer then lowered his weapon after Jones yelled, “Don’t level that gun at my kids!”
“They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed weapons at my children,” Jones later tweeted.
It’s unclear whether or not authorities pointed weapons at anybody in Jones’ house.
Jones appeared to carry her arms upCredit score: Twitter
The Tampa Bay Occasions reported somebody hacked into the Division of Well being’s system in early November, warning recipients to “converse up earlier than one other 17,000 individuals are useless. You recognize that is mistaken. You don’t need to be part of this. Be a hero. Converse out earlier than it’s too late.”
“That is what occurs to scientists who do their job truthfully,” Jones tweeted on Monday.
In an interview on CNN in Might, Jones mentioned the state made modifications in April to help its preliminary reopening Might 4, for instance by altering the best way it experiences the positivity price of testing in a means she disagreed with.
As a substitute of displaying the speed of all constructive checks, it started displaying the speed of latest constructive checks — filtering out individuals who beforehand examined constructive.
This was not a behind-the-scenes change. DeSantis introduced it at an April 24 information convention, arguing it was the higher determine for assessing traits in testing and management of the outbreak.
An officer was seen holding a gunCredit score: Twitter
Jones additionally mentioned she opposed how well being officers determined to exempt rural counties beneath 75,000 inhabitants from extra stringent standards for reopening — corresponding to displaying a downward trajectory of latest instances or case positivity prior to now 14 days.
Nonetheless, federal pointers permit states to compute standards on the state stage or to tailor a regional method that takes into consideration the severity of outbreak in areas.
Florida’s small rural counties have had fewer instances and deaths — 21 of them have had no deaths.
In such counties, a good 14-day development may simply be upended by a small — however containable — spike in instances.
Within the CNN interview, Jones was requested whether or not she was eliminated due to an perspective downside.
One other officer held a flashlightCredit score: Twitter
“Considerably, sure, if refusing to mislead the general public throughout a well being disaster is insubordination then I’ll put on that badge with honor,” Jones answered.
Florida launched its knowledge day by day in three ways in which Jones helped handle: Studies in textual content and graphics, a dashboard map and a uncooked knowledge hub, together with breakdowns at county and ZIP code ranges. Federal coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Brix has praised Florida’s presentation as particularly granular and user-friendly.
Jones was advised to resign or be fired final Monday and her final work day was Thursday, after a sample of overstepping her duties as knowledge supervisor.
The ultimate straw got here on Might 15, when she vented in emails to researchers and different knowledge recipients that she’d been reassigned, suggesting they need to now doubt the information’s integrity.
A number of officers entered the homeCredit score: Twitter
Paperwork obtained by The Related Press confirmed a supervisor warned Jones on April 9 after she posted a message on a newspaper Facebook web page concerning the dashboard.
She was advised she wanted approval earlier than publicly discussing the work. Lower than two weeks later, she was warned once more when a mapping firm’s on-line journal printed an intensive interview with Jones.
Her supervisor later discovered a public weblog through which Jones mentioned the dashboard, launched unauthorized charts and added “political commentary” in posts that seem to have been taken down.
The supervisor, Craig Curry, detailed every incident in an electronic mail to the division’s human assets workplace on Might 6 and was advised he may start the method of firing her. However in that very same electronic mail, Curry additionally praised Jones, saying she did “incredible work.”
With an experience in geography and tropical storms, Jones, 30, additionally has cited her dismay over Well being Division officers taking down a class area in line knowledge for particular person COVID-19 instances — however says all knowledge was restored later unaltered.
Deputy Secretary for Well being Dr. Shamarial Roberson mentioned that Jones’s pushback was over the “EventDate” class, which is when a affected person experiences first remembering having attainable signs and is separate from when the sickness is confirmed.
“Occasion date just isn’t the vital area,” Roberson mentioned. “A case is deemed when you may have that laboratory consequence as constructive.”
Roberson mentioned Florida’s knowledge is up to date because it turns into obtainable day by day. “Day-after-day our knowledge is correct, it’s factual, it’s true, it’s clear,” she mentioned.