Ron DeSantis indicted by COVID critic in arrest of teenage son

A harsh critic of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19 has accused him of involvement in her son’s arrest over online threats the 13-year-old boy allegedly made.

Rebekah Jones provided no evidence to support her allegation, and the DeSantis spokesman said he had “no idea” about the case. Jones was fired from her job at the Florida Department of Health in 2020 after she clashed with supervisors over providing COVID-19 data. “My son was kidnapped by government order,” she said in her tweet on Thursday.

DeSantis’ national profile is growing as the strong second favorite of Republican voters for the party’s 2024 presidential nominee, behind Donald Trump. DeSantis rose to prominence by launching an impassioned campaign against what he calls the “wake-mind virus,” though critics have accused him of undermining free speech and targeting minorities — allegations he denies.

Jones, who lost the Democratic nominee in a Florida district in last November’s congressional election, tweeted: “My family is not safe. My son was kidnapped by government order, and I had to send my husband and daughter out of state for their safety. THIS is the reality of DeSantis’ Florida life.

“There is no freedom here. Only retaliatory rule by a fascist who wants to be king.”

Jones said it was her son Arrested for ‘digital terrorism threat’ after being “reported anonymously” to police over a meme shared on a Shapchat group.

The meme that Jones posted on Twittershowed what appeared to be a sleeping man, with the caption, “Cops in their car are waiting for the school gunner to kill himself so they can go inside.”

Jones has not presented any evidence to support her claim that DeSantis played a role in the arrest.

DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin said in a message news week he had “no idea” about the case.

A spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a statewide agency, said news week They were “unaware of the allegations” that Jones made against DeSantis and were “not involved in this matter.”

Ron DeSantis speaks in Georgia
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event on his nationwide book tour at Adventure Outdoors, the nation’s largest gun store, March 30, 2023 in Smyrna, Georgia. The DeSantis press secretary told Newsweek he had “no idea” why Jones linked the governor to her son’s arrest.

According to an incident report from the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office obtained by the local newspaper The Pensacola News JournalJones’ son was reported by a number of students for threatening comments on social media he allegedly made.

news week contacted Jones via a Twitter direct message, to which she previously replied. The son was not named to protect his privacy.

On Thursday afternoon, Jones’ son appeared before a judge, who concluded that there was probable cause in the case and set May 3 as the date for the charges.

Until then, the 13-year-old was released on condition that he wear a monitor, not possess assault weapons, use the Internet only for school purposes and avoid contact with acquaintances from middle school.

In May 2022, Jones’ appeal against her firing by the Florida Department of Health for disobedience after clashes over coronavirus statistics was dismissed by the Florida Office of Inspector General, calling her allegations against officials “baseless” or “unfounded.”

In December 2020, Jones’ home was searched by police after she hacked into the Florida Department of Health’s computer system. She accepted a deferred prosecution agreement for those charges on December 8, 2022, in which she admitted her guilt and agreed to pay investigative fees, perform community service, and see a mental health professional regularly.

Jones has been a fierce critic of Gov. DeSantis’ coronavirus policies, and after she was briefly suspended from Twitter in June 2021, he branded her the “Typhoid Mary of COVID-19 disinformation.”

Jones lost to Matt Gaetz in the Florida first congressional district election last November.

In February 2023, Jones announced on Twitter that she was moving out of Florida.

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