Florida: Covid whistleblower claims son’s arrest is ‘kidnapping’ by DeSantis | Florida

The arrest of a Florida teenager for allegedly threatening a school shooting has reignited a bitter feud between a former health department analyst fired after she accused the state of covering up Covid data, and Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

The 13-year-old is the son of Rebekah Jones, the founder of Florida’s pandemic database, who clashed frequently with DeSantis after her dismissal on grounds of insubordination.

According to officials in Santa Rosa county, the boy made online threats in February to “shoot up” a middle school or stab people, resulting in a charge of internet-related terrorism.

But in a Twitter thread, Jones claimed her son Jackson was “kidnapped on the governor’s orders” as retaliation for her filing a lawsuit last month to try to win her job back, and had been cleared as “not a threat” by police and school officials.

“That’s what they do in Florida: steal your children as political punishment,” she wrote.

Jones said her son only reposted internet memes about mass shootings in a Snapchat group with friends, yet was arrested and detained in a juvenile facility because “he has a target on his back”.

The Miami Herald reported on Thursday that the youth was arrested on Wednesday.

Jones, a Democrat who lost her challenge for DeSantis ally Matt Gaetz’s congressional seat in November, tweeted that she suspected her son’s social media was being spied on.

“A week after we filed our lawsuit against the state, a kid claiming to be the cousin of one of my son’s classmates joined their Snapchat group. They recorded their conversations, and anonymously reported my son to police for sharing a popular internet meme,” she said.

“They said they had to complete a threat assessment since they received an anon complaint, which both the local cops and the school signed off on as not being a threat.”

Two weeks later, she said, the state issued a warrant for “digital threats of terrorism”.

“Everything my son has struggled with these last two years came from DeSantis personally targeting my family for blowing up his Covid success story lie. He was 11 years old when he was held up at gunpoint by police on DeSantis’s orders,” she added, referring to a December 2020 incident in which armed officers raided the family’s home as the Florida department of law enforcement (FDLE) investigated an alleged hacking of the health department’s computer network.

Jones later reached a plea deal in that case, admitting guilt and paying FDLE $20,000 for the cost of the investigation.

DeSantis’s office did not respond to a request for comment. But according to Santa Rosa sheriff’s spokesman Bob Johnson, speaking with Wear TV, the teenager “basically said something along the lines ‘I’m feeling silly today, I think I may shoot up a bunch of people in a building’.”

A police report seen by the TV station said a search warrant for his Snapchat account uncovered threats against his former middle school, including: “I want to shoot up the school,” and “I always keep a knife on me so maybe I’ll just stab ppl idk”.

The memes, the Herald reported, including one of a police officer sleeping instead of responding to a school shooting.

Jones, in her lawsuit, accuses the state of violating her whistleblower protections by firing her when she claimed Florida’s health department forced her to suppress the real number of Covid cases and deaths. She is seeking compensation for “emotional distress”, and reinstatement with back pay.

She called DeSantis, a likely candidate for the Republican party’s 2024 presidential nomination, “a fascist who wishes to be king”.

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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