Florida police raided the home of a former state coronavirus data scientist on Monday, 7 December, escalating a feud between the state government and a data expert who allegedly accused officials of trying to cover up the extent of the pandemic.
According to Washingtonpost, the Florida department of law enforcement executed a search warrant 0n Monday at the home of data scientist Rebekah Jones, who was fired by the state department of health in May.
The agency is investigating whether Jones accessed a state government messaging system without authorization to urge employees to speak out about coronavirus deaths, according to an affidavit by an agent working on the case.
About 10 officers with guns drawn showed up to her Tallahassee home Jones said. A video taken from a camera in her house, which she posted on social media showed an officer pointing a gun up a stairwell as Jones told him her two children were upstairs.
Jones said that the officer was pointing his gun at her 2-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and her husband who she said were in the stairwell.
a spokesperson for the law enforcement department said that agents knocked on Jones door and called her in an attempt to minimize disruption to the family, Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on the agents, and Jones’ family was upstairs when agents did enter the house, the spokesperson didn’t respond to questions about why the officers drew guns.
According to the affidavit by an investigator with the department, an unauthorized individual illegally accessed a state government emergency management system to send a group text message to government officials last month urging them to speak out about the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead, you know this is wrong, you don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero, speak out before it’s too late, the message said according to the affidavit.
Officials traced the message, which was sent on the afternoon of November 10 to about 1,750 recipients to an IP address connected to Jones’ house the investigator wrote in the affidavit.
Jones said on Monday night that she didn’t send the message; “i’m not a hacker, the language in the message that the authorities said was sent was not the way I talk and contained errors i would not make.
“The number of deaths that the person used wasn’t even right, they were actually under by about 430 deaths and i would never round down 430 deaths, Jones added.