PALM Seashore, Fla. – Previous Florida coronavirus facts chief Rebekah Jones hit back on Thursday against state police claims that bodycam footage shows officers acted correctly when they raided her home on Monday as element of an investigation before they took hardware she stated includes proof of authorities wrongdoing.
“You can see you will find an officer plainly pointing a gun at my deal with by means of the window future to my door,” Jones mentioned in an interview with Florida Now.
Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement released bodycam footage on Thursday showing officers striving to contact Jones by contacting her phone and knocking on her door Monday morning. When they received no reaction, 1 officer points a pistol at the door even though one more keeping a sledgehammer needs Jones open up the doorway. She obeys and exits with her arms up, donning a T-shirt and sweatpants.
Who is Rebekah Jones? Previous Florida COVID-19 facts scientist had house raided by authorities
The officer with his gun drawn then enters Jones’ dwelling. “Do not point that gun at my small children!” Jones yells, as her husband and children stroll down the stairs of the two-tale residence.
“This video demonstrates that FDLE agents exercised serious endurance,” Commissioner Richard Swearingen stated Thursday in a statement from FDLE.
“This video clip does not assist FDLE,” Jones reported in the Florida Today job interview, noting that officers recurring her mobile phone quantity and deal with, but the department did not retract that data from the video clip when publishing it. The video also features her license plate.
“So this seems like a additional attempt from FDLE to just trigger much more hassle for me for releasing the video clip within pointing guns at my young ones,” Jones reported.
Nationwide media have noted on the raid given that Jones recorded it on a camera and posted it to Twitter on Monday. FDLE’s bodycam video clip lacks footage soon after officers went into her residence.
‘They pointed guns at my kids’:Florida police raid house of fired details scientist who created state’s COVID-19 dashboard
FDLE said in its statement that “agents afforded Ms. Jones enough time to arrive to the door and take care of this make a difference in a civil and experienced manner. As this video will exhibit, any danger or risk to Ms. Jones or her spouse and children was the result of her actions.”
“I had no registered weapons in my identify,” Jones mentioned. “They know that, they checked that. Me and my partner really don’t have weapons. I arrived downstairs in my pajamas. … they had been there to provide a research warrant for a computer. This was not some illegal underground drug cartel.”
FDLE was issuing a warrant to Jones to justify seizing her computers, smartphones and other electronics as element of a personal computer hacking investigation. The section says an individual received entry to the state’s crisis management method and sent a textual content information to 1,750 recipients saying “It really is time to discuss up right before another 17,000 men and women are lifeless. You know this is incorrect. You will not have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Discuss out right before it is far too late.”
FDLE has stated officers traced the information to Jones’ Internet Protocol, or IP, tackle, involved with Jones’ Comcast account, from which they received her tackle.
Jones denies she sent that information, saying during the Florida Currently meeting that the username and password to log into the unexpected emergency management process experienced been publicly readily available on a state internet site.
Swearingen, the FDLE commissioner, mentioned in the department’s Thursday statement that the media should “demand from customers Ms. Jones launch the entirety of the online video she recorded while brokers had been existing in her dwelling.”
But Jones reported the recording she posted to Twitter was ended when an officer observed the digital camera recording from a desk in her residence and shut it off.
Because the raid and national coverage of it, Jones has raised almost $220,000 on GoFundMe, where she mentioned any dollars not expended on replacing her equipment or employing a attorney will go to a legal fund to defend whistleblowers.
Jones has also had to devote some of the cash she lifted to employ the service of personal security, now that her personal details has been publicized, she stated. “I have to have going costs fairly before long because plainly I am not protected in the point out.”
To these who believe she is accomplishing all this for consideration, Jones claimed in the Florida Nowadays job interview, “You guys (reporters) know additional than anybody that I failed to want this.” When the newspaper claimed in May possibly that she experienced been fired, Jones begged the reporter to retract the tale. “I hid for 5 days … wondering all people would just transfer on.”
The health department fired Jones in May perhaps for refusing to falsify coronavirus knowledge that would look friendlier to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to reopen firms and public places, she suggests in a whistleblower complaint filed in July.
Jones could not elaborate on her evidence of falsification since the whistleblower investigation is ongoing, she said.
“I am staying muzzled somewhat by lawful guidance to say ‘Don’t display my hand,'” Jones stated. But now that FDLE has her laptop devices, she believes they will peruse the info on it.
The components the point out seized has proof of wrongdoing at the greatest degrees of the state, Jones claimed, but she nonetheless has electronic backups of it all. “They imagined that they had anything but that’s why you will find the cloud,” she claimed, referencing on line electronic file storage companies.
If Jones experienced it her way at the Office of Health and fitness, she claimed, she would’ve done factors in different ways. “I would’ve just listened to the science,” she mentioned, referencing challenges this sort of as a recent absence of mask mandates for colleges in 20 of Florida’s 67 counties.
And like other overall health researchers, Jones urged men and women towards traveling for Xmas.
“We seriously just need to have to get through the future couple of months, enable the vaccine do its work, and then bit by bit get back to normal. It’s hard to give up things… but if we will not skip this a person it is gonna be a ton of of people’s very last Christmas when it doesn’t have to be.”