Agents 'exercised extreme patience' during raid at home of Rebekah Jones, FDLE says

Body camera video released after 'inaccurate and incomplete statements'
Rebekah Jones, body camera video of raid
Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 10, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Newly released body camera video shows the moments that Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents raided the Tallahassee home of a former state health employee.

The video was released Thursday by the FDLE as a rebuttal to a short video clip that Rebekah Jones shared on Twitter hours after authorities executed a search warrant at her home.

"Because of inaccurate and incomplete statements given by certain individuals, the body camera video taken from outside the home is being made available," the FDLE said in a news release.

Jones, 31, made headlines earlier this year after she claimed the Florida Department of Health pressured her into censoring the state's COVID-19 data to align with Gov. Ron DeSantis' narrative. She was fired in May after vocalizing her concerns and creating an independent COVID-19 dashboard.

In the hours after the raid, Jones tweeted a 31-second video clip that shows her opening the door as agents make their way inside with their guns drawn. Jones claimed that they pointed a gun at her and her children.

However, FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said the body-cam video shows that his 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 in a statement. "As this video will demonstrate, any risk or danger to Ms. Jones or her family was the result of her actions."

According to the FDLE, it took 23 minutes from the time law enforcement arrived until Jones opened the door.

The video begins at 8:25 a.m., when a Tallahassee police officer and an FDLE agent rang the doorbell and knocked on the front door.

After about six minutes of trying to speak to Jones through the door, agents went to the back of the home and saw her husband going upstairs, according to the FDLE.

Eventually, the video shows, an agent holding a sledgehammer bangs on the door several times an repeatedly says, "Police. Search warrant. Open the door."

As Jones speaks to them from behind the door, several agents can be heard telling her, "Open the door."

She eventually does, providing an alternate perspective of the clip shared by Jones and shown on CNN.

RELATED: Rebekah Jones could face felony charge | Florida agents raid home of ousted COVID-19 data curator

"Do not point that gun at my children," Jones says in the video.

Her husband is later seen walking outside, holding one of their children while the other walks out behind him.

"We have a cat up there, too," Jones shouts to agents inside her home.

At one point, an agent asks Jones, "Does the dog bite?"

"I don't know if she would bite you," Jones says, before warning that the dog might jump on him.

According to the FDLE, a video camera that was recording the entire time the agents were inside the home was not seized during the search warrant.

"I am proud of the way these FDLE agents performed," Swearingen said. "I can only hope those same individuals who criticized these public safety heroes will now apologize and condemn the actions of Ms. Jones. The media should also demand Ms. Jones release the entirety of the video she recorded while agents were present in her home."