TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is vigorously defending law enforcement officers on how they served a search warrant at the home of a former Department of Health employee being investigated for unauthorized use of an emergency alert system.
DeSantis spoke Friday, addressing the search warrant served at the home of Rebekah Jones on Monday.
Jones helped develop the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, but was later fired for insubordination and has since publicly questioned the accuracy of the data.
She recorded the first 31 seconds of the encounter and posted it on social media. It showed officers with guns drawn entering her home.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released bodycam footage from the incident on Thursday.
“This video demonstrates that FDLE agents exercised extreme patience,” Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement along with the video’s release.
“Search warrants are one of the most dangerous events a law enforcement officer will engage in, and many officers are killed each year during the execution of search warrants,” he continued. “Agents afforded Ms. Jones ample time to come to the door and resolve this matter in a civil and professional manner. As this video will demonstrate, any risk or danger to Ms. Jones or her family was the result of her actions.”
DeSantis said Friday that the officers were doing their job and did so properly.
“Just because you’re a darling of some corners of the fever swamps, that does not exempt you from following the law,” DeSantis said, adding that Jones’ claims against the state’s COVID-19 data are simply a conspiracy theory.
“Obviously, she’s got issues,” the governor said.
When asked whether he knew the search of Jones’ home was going to happen, DeSantis said he only knew there was an investigation into Jones’ alleged actions.
“These people did their jobs. They’ve been smeared as the Gestapo for doing their jobs,” DeSantis said about the officers who entered Jones’ home. “They did a search warrant. Why did they do a search warrant on the house? Because her IP address was linked to the felony. What were they supposed to do, just ignore it?”
Jones has denied illegally hacking into the state’s emergency alert system.