Florida Police Seize Devices From a Covid-Data Activist
A Miami Beach police officer patrols a beach in Florida, U.S. (Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg)

Florida Police Seize Devices From a Covid-Data Activist

Florida state police seized devices from the home of a former state employee who built the health department’s Covid-19 portal before being fired due to what she has characterized as her refusal to manipulate data.

Since leaving the job, Rebekah Jones has become an outspoken critic on Twitter of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s pandemic response. She built her own Florida Covid-19 dashboard to challenge official accounts.

In tweets late Monday, Jones said police pointed guns at her children, and she included a shadowy video in which one officer appeared to point a weapon up a staircase in her home. The video didn’t show officers directly confronting her family. Jones said police took her phone and computer.

In a statement, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said agents “seized several devices that will be forensically analyzed. At no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home.” It said it began an investigation Nov. 10 following a complaint from the health department regarding someone at the residence possibly gaining “unauthorized access” to a message system intended for emergency use only.

The state police said Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on officers before they eventually entered the home.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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