TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rebekah Jones, a previous state facts scientist, said Florida brokers in vests knocked on her door Monday and took all her “hardware and tech” just after demonstrating her a warrant dependent on a complaint submitted by the Florida Section of Health and fitness.
Jones is the previous Section of Wellbeing info scientist who designed Florida’s much-praised COVID-19 dashboard prior to staying fired above what she mentioned was refusing to “manipulate facts.”
She was fired from her work as Geographic Facts Programs manager for the division in May perhaps.
Video of the Monday raid demonstrates agents in vests entering Jones’ house with guns drawn, asking who else was in the residence. She claimed her partner and two little ones were being inside as they escorted her from the home.
A Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement spokeswoman verified the seizure of gear and reported an investigation is ongoing.
‘They pointed guns at my kids’:Florida law enforcement raid dwelling of fired facts scientist who crafted state’s COVID-19 dashboard
Who is Rebekah Jones?
Jones was the architect and supervisor of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard, which had been praised by White Property officials for its accessibility. She had worked for the Office of Health and fitness as a geospatial analyst and then a Geographic Information System (GIS) manager considering that 2018, according to her resume.
Jones instructed Florida Nowadays, element of the United states Today Network, that she single-handedly developed two applications in two languages, 4 dashboards, and six one of a kind maps with layers of knowledge performance for 32 variables covering a 50 percent million strains of facts. Her aim was to build a way for Floridians and researchers to see how the pandemic was spreading in serious time.
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Jones has experienced a historical past of run-ins with legislation enforcement in Florida. It includes several scenarios, all but a solitary case shut without a conviction. One particular is a theft cost that was dropped when no evidence was developed for prosecution. The relaxation, including the energetic just one, relate to Jones’ private daily life. She is experiencing a single misdemeanor count of cyberstalking stemming from what appears to be an acrimonious breakup.
Why was Rebekah Jones fired?
Jones was fired from her position with the Florida Section of Wellbeing in May perhaps, she said, for refusing to manipulate information.
Just after Florida Nowadays initially claimed Jones’ removing from her placement in cost of the Florida COVID-19 Details and Surveillance Dashboard, she confirmed as claimed by CBS-12 in West Palm Beach that she was fired because she was ordered to censor some details. She refused to “manually adjust knowledge to drum up assist for the plan to reopen.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis in Could questioned Jones’ qualifications and painted her as a disruptive worker and a criminal. “She’s getting billed with cyberstalking and cyber sexual harassment,” he mentioned.
DeSantis’ remarks arrived on the heels of an posting on The Capitolist, a news site run by Brian Burgess, a former spokesman for Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, that accused Jones and the media of mischaracterizing her function as the architect of the dashboard and as a scientist while glossing around her prison report.
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Rebekah Jones in the news
Right after she was fired, Jones created the COVID Keep an eye on, her own coronavirus dashboard. She has appeared on cable news and specified interviews to national media.
She was not too long ago shown as a person of Fortune’s 40 under 40 this yr. Forbes reported:
Jones started contemplating about developing a nationwide database, and in August, she solidified a partnership with Google and nonprofit FinMango. With Google’s cloud computing and information abilities and FinMango to enable take care of the undertaking, Jones is now creating a details set for each individual university district in the U.S., together with opening dates, constraints, and quantity of scenarios in every single district.
Ahead of she was fired, Esri, a enterprise that offers the program tools employed to create Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard, singled out Jones as the “Dedicated Scientist in Florida (who) Made Fast Moves to Map the Condition.” The Esri post credited Jones for building the dashboard as properly as managing it, highlighting her educational and skilled qualifications.
Jones was a Geography Ph.D. university student at Florida Point out University from the tumble semester of 2016 as a result of the spring semester of 2018 but has not attained a degree. Jones’ resume states she also has a bachelor’s and master’s of science in the willpower alongside with credentials in journalism and mass conversation. Her doctoral emphasis was in details science, in accordance to Esri. She also has published research on hurricane modeling.
Contributing: Jeffrey Schweers, Florida Capital Bureau
Follow Jigsha Desai of the United states Currently Network on Twitter: @jighsa
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