State police brandishing firearms Monday raided the Tallahassee property of Rebekah Jones, the former Office of Wellness employee who designed the state’s a great deal-praised COVID-19 dashboard before being fired more than what she explained was refusing to “manipulate info.”
“They pointed a gun in my deal with. They pointed guns at my young ones,” Jones tweeted soon before 5 p.m.
Jones — who released her have COVID-19 dashboard immediately after she was fired, and used crowdsourcing to raise money to assist it — mentioned the agents knocked on her door around 8:30 a.m. that morning, took all her “hardware and tech” right after showing her a warrant based on a criticism filed by the Florida Department of Well being.
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A video clip accompanying the write-up displays Florida Section of Legislation Enforcement agents in vests at the front door with guns drawn, inquiring who else was in the residence. She stated her spouse and two youngsters had been inside as they escorted her out of the household.
The video clip demonstrates an agent getting into the residence with his gun drawn, calling for her partner to arrive down the stairs. When an agent explained to her to relaxed down, Jones explained, “He just pointed a gun at my youngsters!”
FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger sent a assertion confirming the seizure of laptop or computer products at Jones’s Tallahassee home and mentioned agents are investigating.
“FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020, soon after acquiring a complaint from the Division of Overall health (DOH) concerning unauthorized entry to a Office of Well being messaging process which is section of an crisis warn procedure, to be used for emergencies only,” Plessinger said.
Plessinger stated when brokers arrived, they knocked and waited 20 minutes for Jones to respond to the doorway.
“Ms. Jones refused to come to the doorway for 20 minutes and hung up on agents. After quite a few tries and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were being there to serve a lawful lookup warrant, Ms. Jones sooner or later arrived to the door and permitted agents to enter,” Plessinger explained. “Ms. Jones’ family members was upstairs when agents manufactured entry into the residence.”
The investigation is energetic, she additional.
“As in all instances, our purpose is to decide the specifics of what happened and a Condition Legal professional decides whether or not or not fees are filed.”
Jones, the former geographic info science manager, was fired for insubordination in May perhaps after currently being reprimanded many times, condition officials mentioned. Her paperwork doesn’t state a trigger for her being fired, but she promises she was terminated for refusing to manipulate wellbeing data to cast Florida in a far more favorable light.
She tweeted: “They took my mobile phone and the personal computer I use each working day to put up the situation figures in Florida, and university scenarios for the whole country. They took evidence of corruption at the point out amount. They claimed it was about a protection breach. This was DeSantis. He despatched the Gestapo.”
The DOH reported just lately that another person hacked the unexpected emergency communications channel. Jones instructed a reporter that she is not a hacker: “I don’t know how to do that things.”
The FDLE affidavit for the search warrant mentioned a distinctive agent spoke to a DOH formal with the Preparedness and Response workplace about a suspected breach of the personalized-produced communications program for crisis management.
An unknown subject received obtain to the process and sent out a team textual content saying: “It truly is time to talk up ahead of another 17,000 folks are dead. You know this is mistaken. You you should not have to be a portion of this. Be a hero. Talk out right before it truly is far too late.”
The textual content concept was sent from the ESF-8 mail account to 1,750 recipients before the software package vendor could halt the message from being transmitted further more, the affidavit mentioned.
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The ESF-8 account is the state’s emergency assistance functionality for public health and health-related services and is utilized by lots of men and women from several organizations, like DOH and Unexpected emergency Management.
“As soon as they are no for a longer period linked with ESF-8 they are no more time approved to obtain the multi-person group,” the FDLE affidavit reported. All approved users use the identical user name and password.
The FDLE investigator statements he established through his “investigative sources” that an Net Protocol, or IP, address connected with Jones’s Comcast account was the supply of the ESF-8 textual content information.
An IP address identifies the location that an Web connection was manufactured but doesn’t confirm that Jones sent the textual content information, in accordance to IT industry experts.
Jones advised a reporter for the Usa Currently Network-Florida that her sources at DOH told her an e mail had long gone out throughout the department from the ESF-8 email account all over the time that five of 8 group leaders experienced been fired.
Jones told the reporter that a series of firings and resignations in DOH, which include not long ago departed public facts officer Alberto Moscoso’s departure, ended up “a purge.”
“It’s like a massacre. And individuals aren’t the only persons that have been fired or still left,” she explained.
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Jones also stated she has backups of the data and information that electric power her web sites that have been saved on the seized components.
“This is what comes about to experts who do their position truthfully,” Jones tweeted. “This is what happens to folks who discuss real truth to energy.”
Florida Currently reporter Alessandro Sassoon and Palm Beach Put up data reporter Chris Persaud contributed to this report. Contact Jeff Schweers at [email protected] and observe him on Twitter @jeffschweers.
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