Florida official who refused to falsify Covid data is suing law enforcement over ‘retaliatory’ raid on her home

Rebekah Jones raised $200,000 for legal funds in 24 hours after incident

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 21 December 2020 23:12 GMT
Police raid home of former Florida Covid data scientist

The data scientist fired for refusing to “manipulate” Florida’s Covid figures has sued state police who raided her home to seize computer equipment.

Rebekah Jones posted video footage of the raid earlier this month and claimed Florida governor Ron DeSantis had “sent the gestapo" for her.

Ms Jones, who created Florida’s Covid-19 portal,  has claimed she was fired from her job because she refused a request to censor data to boost the state’s plan to re-open.

Now she has filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, saying that the 7 December raid was a “sham” and carried out to retaliate against her.

Ms Jones, who saw $200,000 raised for her legal fees after the raid, was fired in May and launched her own online dashboard to track Florida’s virus cases.

Mr DeSantis claimed she was fired for refusing to obey her superiors, but she says it was because she would not change data to justify the governor’s reopening of the economy.

Ms Jones filed the lawsuit against FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, the department and several agents in Leon County Circuit Civil Court.

She claims her constitutional rights were violated, including against unlawful search and seizure.

Ms Jones is seeking more than $100,000, the lawsuit states.

“We are trying to achieve some kind of redress,” said her attorney Rick Johnson.

“This is still America. This is the kind of thing that happens in tinhorn dictatorships in third world countries.”

Mr Swearingen has defended the actions of the officers, who entered the home with guns drawn and blamed Ms Jones for any danger faced by her family.

"As I have said before, I am proud of the professionalism shown by our FDLE agents as they served a legal search warrant on the residence of Rebekah Jones,” he said in a statement.

“Our criminal investigation continues, and while I have not seen this lawsuit, I believe the facts will come out in court.”

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