Fired Florida health department data scientist drops lawsuit over police raid on her home

Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones, who developed the state's COVID-19 dashboard before being fired from the health department last year, is moving to dismiss her lawsuit filed against Florida officials over an armed raid on her home in December, Florida Today reports. 

Florida law enforcement officials raided Ms. Jones' home Dec. 7 and accused her of inappropriately accessing the state health department's communications platform to send a message urging civil servants to speak up about the state's reporting on COVID-19-related deaths. During the raid, police confiscated Ms. Jones' computer, phone and other hardware. 

Ms. Jones was arrested after the raid and faces a criminal charge of violating Florida's computer crime laws. Ms. Jones has denied the charge and claims the raid, arrest and criminal charges are in retaliation for her criticism of the state. 

On Jan. 18, she turned herself in to authorities after a warrant was issued for her arrest in connection to her use of the state's computer system. She posted bail and was released from jail Jan. 19. Ms. Jones' attorney said there were a "number of reasons" the lawsuit was being dropped, including its potential to compromise her defense in the pending criminal case, according to the report. 

Ms. Jones still plans to sue the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at a later time, her attorney said. 

 

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