The home of Rebekah Jones, a Florida state official who was fired for refusing to manipulate coronavirus data to justify premature re-opening of the economy, was raided Monday by the Florida Department of Law enforcement.
The department alleged in its filing for a search warrant that “a person” in her home used an email to break into a Florida communications platform and send out a text on Nov. 10 telling people it was “time to speak up before another 17,000 people died,” according to a report today by NBC News.
“You know this is wrong,” the text said, according to the warrant. “You don’t have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”
Jones denied sending out the text and has been saying to the press and on social media that had she sent out such a text it would have been with the correct numbers which were higher than those Florida law enforcement is claiming were in the alleged text.
Florida law enforcement is also saying they raided the Jones home because they were looking for computer hardware and electronics.
When she was still employed Jones set up a public information portal to publish on a regular basis, for public consumption, the numbers of COVID infections and deaths.
Last Spring Jones told local television stations that she was forced out of her job after refusing to change the figures on that portal to build support for the governor’s plan to reopen.
Jones posted video of the raid Monday and said state police “pointed a gun in my face.”
“They pointed guns at my kids,” she said.
Jones blames the raid on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis who has been widely criticized for his disastrous handling of the coronavirus crisis in his state. He has slavishly hued to the Trump approach of doing as little as possible to alleviate the situation and as much as possible to ignore the pandemic altogether.
“This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly,” Jones told NBC. “This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.”
John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People’s World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union’s campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and ’80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper’s predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.