The former Florida Covid-19 Data Manager, Rebekah Jones has alleged that the raid on her house by the Florida Department of law enforcement was done as she did not agree to alter the covid-19 data.
Jones worked as a data manager in the covid-19 department before she was fired from her job in May. She later launched her own covid-19 online data dashboard. The governor of Florida said that she was fired for her insubordination. However, Jones said that she was fired from her job as she did not agree to alter the data with regards to covid-19 cases that would put Florida in a favourable position to justify the reopening plan of the state.
Former Florida Covid-19 Data Manager Files Suit Over Raid
In the lawsuit filed against the law enforcement department of Florida, Jones claimed that her constitutional rights were violated and she is seeking in excess of $100,000 damages. She said that her rights were violated due to the unlawful search and seizure at her home.
The Attorney representing Jones said that they were trying to achieve some kind of redress. The Attorney added that such incidents usually happen in third world countries that have dictatorship rule and it cannot be tolerated in a country like America.
The department however has defended its actions and said that the agents served a legal search warrant on the residence of Jones. The department also added that the criminal investigation would continue against her and the facts would come out in court.
The department had issued a search warrant on Jones’ home in connection with an investigation of alleged security breach at the emergency communication network of the State Health Department.
The authorities said that Jones took more than 20 minutes to open the door. However, the attorneys representing Jones said that she was still in bed when the agents came home and she had to wake up her children and get ready before opening the door. The attorneys said that Jones thought she was going to be arrested and she called the Attorney before meeting the law enforcement officials.
The Attorney also said that Jones opened the door as soon as the authorities mentioned that they had a warrant.
According to the state, the network was used by an unauthorised user who sent out a text message to 1750 recipients to indicate that there was something wrong about the covid-19 situation. Even though Jones has not been charged with crime, the authorities have held her responsible for the breach. They had conducted a search operation to gather evidence in this regard.
However, Jones has said that she did not hack into the account and the username and password of the account was posted on a public website which was taken down by the state officials 4 days after the raid.
The lawsuit filed by the attorneys of Jones claims that the law enforcement agents entered the home with guns drawn and terrorized her family. Even though the authorities were only supposed to execute a search warrant for electronic devices, they behaved in this manner to threaten the protected speech of Jones.
The video from the body camera footage released by the department shows a police officer at Jones’ door with a sledge hammer and another officer with a gun pointed at the door. It also shows the officers grabbing Jones and frisking her. The lawsuit also claims that an anonymous officer committed a battery on Jones.
The Florida government wanted to reopen before the pandemic was brought under control. In this situation, many people believe that the data was tweaked in some manner to give an impression that things were under control in the state.