Body cam footage shows raid on former Florida Covid data scientist's home

Florida state police released body camera videos showing officers waiting before they entered the home of a former state data scientist and the testy confrontation that followed when she exited -- providing new context about a controversial police raid that has attracted national attention.

Posted: Dec 11, 2020 5:40 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2020 5:40 PM

Florida state police released body camera videos Thursday afternoon showing officers waiting before they entered the home of a former state data scientist and the testy confrontation that followed when she exited -- providing new context about a controversial police raid that has attracted national attention this week.

Officers were serving a search warrant Monday morning at the home of Rebekah Jones, a coronavirus data scientist who was fired from the state and has accused Florida officials of covering up the extent of the pandemic.

The state Department of Law Enforcement is investigating whether Jones illegally accessed a state messaging system to send her former colleagues a message urging them to speak out about coronavirus deaths. Jones, who has feuded with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for months, has denied sending the message.

The two videos released by the department show that Jones didn't exit her Tallahassee home until about 23 minutes after officers first rang the doorbell, and 15 minutes after they first announced themselves as police. Jones has claimed authorities waited 13 minutes while she got dressed.

Officers are seen calling Jones' cell phone to ask her to leave the house, while one holds a large hammer.

"Police search warrant, open the door!" officers yell several times. "Make sure the whole block hears us," one agent tells his colleagues.

As Jones exits her house, one officer with his gun drawn appears to point the weapon in her direction, although it's unclear whether anyone pointed a firearm six inches from Jones' face, as she has claimed in interviews with CNN. Officers are seen holding her by her back and her arms as she shouts at them not to point a gun at her children.

One of the officers scolds Jones for taking so long after she leaves the house.

"That was not smart what you are doing," the officer tells Jones. "You need to calm down and get your head (inaudible) because you are making all the wrong decisions."

"All you had to do was answer the door -- there was no doubt who we were," the officer said.

Jones replies that her lawyer had previously told her not to answer the door. She seems confused about what officers want. "What are they looking for? Are they looking for a person?" she asked at one point.

Law enforcement department Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement that "this video demonstrates that FDLE agents exercised extreme patience."

"Agents afforded Ms. Jones ample time to come to the door and resolve this matter in a civil and professional manner," Swearingen said. "As this video will demonstrate, any risk or danger to Ms. Jones or her family was the result of her actions."

But Jones, who has said she delayed in answering the door because she was getting dressed, responded on Twitter on Thursday that the videos prove she was cooperating.

Officers "were ready to break my door down with a sledgehammer," she wrote. "This is 'restraint?' Really???"

The footage released so far mostly shows interactions outside Jones' home, although officers did enter and search the house. Jones has said that officers in the house pointed guns at her 2- and 11-year-old children and her husband, which the department has denied, and released her own video of the raid showing officers inside with guns drawn. It's unclear whether those officers were also wearing body cameras.

In other developments, Jones has now raised more than $200,000 on a GoFundMe page that she says will be used for her legal defense and for "moving expenses so my family can get out of the Governor's reach."

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Lafayette
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 38°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 36°
Frankfort
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 33°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 34°
Freezing to 80s & Storms...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events