Rebekah Jones, the data-scientist who was fired for refusing to 'manipulate' Florida's coronavirus figures, shared video footage of her home being raided by armed police who she claims were sent by the state's governor Ron DeSantis.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Jones shared a video clip of the raid that showed armed state police in vests escorting her out of her Tallahassee home.
"He just pointed a gun at my children," she can be heard saying at one point in the video. Jones' husband and two children were apparently on the first floor of the house at the time of the raid.
She said the police took away her phone and her computer which she uses to post daily coronavirus numbers in Florida. "They took evidence of corruption at the state level," she wrote. "They claimed it was about a security breach."
Watch the video below:
'He Sent the Gestapo'
Jones noted in her tweets that the raid was the work of DeSantis, whom she had clashed with repeatedly since she was fired by the state's department of health in May in a row over COVID-19 data in the state.
"This was DeSantis. He sent the gestapo," she wrote. "This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly. This is what happens to people who speak truth to power."
Jones was dismissed from her job running Florida's Covid-19 database on the same day that DeSantis ordered the opening up of the state following lockdown measures. The decision to allow beaches, restaurants, cinemas and other public places to reopen was blamed for a later surge in coronavirus cases in the state.
Jones said she was removed from the post because she refused to manipulate the numbers she was posting on the state's official coronavirus website. In the months since her firing, Rebekah Jones has continued to publish coronavirus statistics independently.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has continued to downplay the severity of the epidemic, which has killed nearly 20,000 Floridians.
Department Claims Raid Was Over a 'Security Hack'
The Florida department of law enforcement confirmed they had entered Jones's house on a search warrant following a complaint received from the Department of Health over a recent computer hack of the department's website, in which emergency response co-ordinators were sent un unauthorized message.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the message urged the coordinators to "speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late."
However, on Monday night, in an interview with CNN, Jones denied having access to any such computer system or sending out the unauthorized text. "I'm not a hacker, I'm not that tech savvy," she said.
She added that the intention behind the raid was to find out her sources within the state bureaucracy, which is why her phone was seized by the police. "DeSantis needs to worry less about what I'm writing about and more about the people who are sick and dying in his state. Doing this to me will not stop me from reporting the data, ever," she noted.