Rebekah Jones helped the state of Florida create its coronavirus dashboard, but had her home in Tallahassee raided by police in December, after she allegedly accessed a state alert system and sent out a group message stating “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”
Jones turned herself in to police in Tallahassee on Sunday night, a day after announcing on Twitter that she would surrender to protect her family from “continued police violence.” She was charged with one count of “offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices.”
Even before Jones sent out her warning message, she claimed that she had been fired in May for refusing to manipulate statistics on the spread of Covid-19 in the Sunshine State. Officials with the Florida Department of Health said instead that Jones had been fired after she’d “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination,” and had modified virus figures on the website without consulting her colleagues.
Jones set up her own coronavirus dashboard and, at the time of the police raid, accused Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of sending the “Gestapo” to her door.
Jones’ ongoing battle with DeSantis made her something of a poster child for lockdown supporters, and her story received substantial coverage on liberal news networks, CNN in particular.
Before Christmas, Jones posted a lengthy message on her dashboard site, accusing DeSantis of harboring an “irrational and passionate hatred for who I am and what I represent: defiance in the name of science of human decency.” Jones announced in the post that she would be leaving Florida in January, but now will have to remain closer to home after being released on a $2,500 bond on Monday.