Rebekah Jones has two active fundraisers that have received more than $450,000 in donations.
Jones, a former Florida Department of Health (DOH) employee that claimed she was fired for refusing to manipulate data to support Governor Ron DeSantis‘ plan to reopen Florida, launched her second GoFundMe page this week, just hours after Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officers executed a search warrant Monday at her home in Tallahassee. During the search, police seized computer equipment as part of an ongoing investigation.
The search warrant made national headlines after Jones set up a web camera facing the door and published the confrontation on Twitter. The video shows officers entering the home and alerting her that they have a “search warrant” before escorting Jones out of the residence. The 30-second clip also shows law enforcement telling Jones’ to “calm down” and telling her husband to “come down the stairs.”
Following the search and seizure, Jones accused DeSantis of being the mastermind behind the operation in a follow-up tweet, saying his administration sent the “Gestapo” after her. Jones also alleged officers pointed their guns at her family — including her 2-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.
They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country.
They took evidence of corruption at the state level.
They claimed it was about a security breach.
This was DeSantis.
He sent the gestapo.
— Rebekah Jones (@GeoRebekah) December 7, 2020
But according to a statement provided by FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger, FDLE launched an investigation in early November after receiving a complaint from the DOH that someone at Jones’ residence illegally accessed a state emergency-alert messaging system.
The message in question, according to the Tampa Bay Times, reads:
“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.”
Plessinger went on to say that agents attempted to “minimize disruption to the family” when they first arrived at Jones’ home. Jones, however, refused to comply.
“Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung-up on agents. After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter,” Plessinger said. “Ms. Jones’ family was upstairs when agents made entry into the home.”
Following the viral video, Jones was once again thrust into the spotlight, with legacy media outlets like CNN giving Jones an exclusive interview to tell her side of the story. She told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday that she didn’t send the text, saying that message in question was “not the way I talk.”
Jones also capitalized once again on her story, setting up a “legal defense fund” on GoFundMe. The new page, according to Jones, was set up to raise money to replace the computer that was taken by FDLE and pay her legal fees.
“Looks like I need a new computer and a hell of a good lawyer,” she wrote on the page. “And if the governor manages to invent something to lock me away, my family will need help.”
Initially, her goal was to raise $150,000. Since setting up the page, Jones has raised over $200,000 and has adjusted her new fundraising goal to $1,000,000.
This isn’t the only fundraiser currently active on the website. Jones’s initial fundraiser — created on May 23 after she was terminated — is still active, despite her most recent update on the page claiming that the last day to donate was on Sept. 30. The page was set up to “help Rebekah Jones, Florida Whistleblower and scientist, pay her bills after she was fired for refusing to manipulate COVID19 data for the Florida plan to prematurely reopen the state.”
“Today is the last day of my GoFundMe fundraiser,” Jones wrote on Sept. 30. “Fundraising takes time and energy. Between my work volunteering with COVID Action and The Covid Monitor, raising two kids, suing the state, writing a book, and searching for a job whenever ‘after’ finally arrives, I’m not flush with time.
“If you could share this site in the next 15 hours to those who may willing to help pay my salary, buy any needed equipment, and buy/keep cloud space for our national program, I would be very thankful,” the message continues. “And to everyone who has already donated – more than 5,000 people across the country! – thank you so much. I never imagined anything like this would happen to me, and because of all of you, I believe it was for the better.”
At the time of this article, people are still donating to Jones’ first fundraiser. The page has raised over $250,000, with a goal of $300,000. Combined, both pages have raised more than $450,000.
Jones was fired back in May from her job as a geographic information system manager for DOH’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection over claims of insubordination.
Jones does have an extensive history of misconduct. In 2016, she was arrested on the campus of her employer, Louisiana State University, for refusing to obey the orders of a police officer:
On June 13, 26-year-old University staff member Rebekah Jones was booked on one count of battery on a police officer, one count of remaining after forbidden and two counts of resisting arrest, Scott said. Scott said officers arrived at the Sea Grant building when Jones refused to leave at the request of LSU Human Resources. Scott said Jones initiated physical contact against two LSUPD officers while resisting arrest and officers were forced to subdue her.
Jones also has a criminal history in Leon County, where she’s been arrested and has one charge of misdemeanor cyberstalking — from an incident with her ex-boyfriend in 2019 — still pending in the courts.
She was also fired from Florida State University in 2017.