Filipkowski resigns, criticizes “chilling” FDLE raid on Rebekah Jones’ home

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This week, the home of former state COVID-19 data manager Rebekah Jones was raided by the Florida Department of Law enforcement. The security video she released shows several officers with their guns drawn. Because of the raid, a lifelong Republican resigned his state position yesterday.

Ron Filipkowski was a member of a Florida Judicial Nominating Commission. He said he no longer wanted to be part of the Florida government because of the raid and because of the way Governor Ron DeSantis has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

“This situation to me is not so much about Rebekah Jones. It’s not whether she sent the email or didn’t send the email. None of that is really that important to me.

“What’s more important to me is using the police powers of the government, and using a criminal case, a potential criminal charge, to intimidate, not only her. I don’t think she’s necessarily the main target of this.

“I think that it’s intended to silence people inside the government in Tallahassee from becoming a whistleblower. And saying, you know, ‘Look this is what could happen to you if you try anything like that.’ So, it’s all about intimidation, in my opinion.”

In order to get to the bottom of that, you read the search warrant affidavit that was filed by FDLE. That was the impetus, I guess, for them to go into her house. What was your reaction to what you read in there compared to what actually happened?

“Well, I’m a criminal lawyer, you know, and I’ve been a federal prosecutor, and a state prosecutor, and defense attorney, so I read search warrants all the time.

“The odd thing is that it was sent to me by a huge Trump/DeSantis supporter who, when I kind of expressed my concern about what happened when I saw the video, he’s like, ‘Well you should see what she did in the search warrant.’ And sent me the link.

“And I read it and that just made me more mad. Because, you know, what’s the crime? What is the crime here There’s two parts of it that made me mad. One is, I didn’t really see the crime.

“Florida has a pretty broad sort of computer hacker statute. And a lot of things can fit under that. And really what the statute is designed to prevent is people stealing other people’s identity, crashing their computer systems, stealing information that might be confidential for a business.

“That’s not what was alleged here. What was alleged here, is that she supposedly sent an email to the employees telling them to come forward and tell the truth about what’s really happening. That’s not really what the Florida computer hacker statute was designed to prevent. That’s number one.

“Number two was the breath of the warrant. The judge who signed the warrant took the bench three weeks before he signed this warrant. He was appointed by DeSantis. I think it was 28 days, he became a judge 28 days before he signed this warrant. He had not practiced criminal law. He was coming from a business law perspective.

“The warrant, itself, was too broad, in my opinion. There should have been minimization involved. Which is: when you’re seizing somebody’s cell phone and all of their electronic devices, obviously there’s a lot of private personal stuff on there.

“And that was my problem with the warrant is they took all that stuff with no minimization language in the warrant to minimize how much they’re allowed to go in and see and view.

“And I think that what they’re really trying to do, is find out who inside the government in Tallahassee has been communicating with Rebekah Jones. And that that’s really a chilling thing. That’s not a criminal thing. That’s a First Amendment thing.”

Watch the full interview here:

Watch video of the raid here:

Read Filipkowski’s resignation letter here:

Update: On Thursday Dec. 10, law enforcement released body cam videos of their raid on Rebekah Jones’ home:

 

 

Congress member Charlie Crist also released an email statement Tuesday critical of the raid of Rebekah Jones’ house.

The former Florida Governor wrote, “The guns drawn FDLE raid on the home of Rebekah Jones was shocking, over-the-top, and demands a full explanation.”

Crist added, “it looks like an act of retaliation or an attempt to silence Ms. Jones for her critiques of the state’s COVID-19 response.” We’ll hear more about this from Rep. Crist on MidPont Monday (Dec. 14) at noon on 88.5 FM.

 

Here’s more of the transcript of WMNF’s interview with Ron Filipkowski

“Well, again, I’m a criminal lawyer. I see videos like that all the time. The people film traffic stops of themselves being, you know, searched and all of that. So, it wasn’t, maybe that’s just seeing something like that is shocking to a lot of people. It wasn’t so much shocking to me. What I thought it was, it was completely excessive.

“You know, during this year we’ve had this unfortunate phrase “defunding the police”. And I’m also a former police academy director. I hate that slogan because, really, what it should, what the slogan should have been, in my opinion, is “demilitarize the police”. We have seen police departments become these para-military organizations. I don’t think any police officer should wear camo. I think the body armor stuff needs to be cut back on. It’s just, we have this mentality with police agencies now.

“We’ve gone away from community policing and engaging the public, and more into creating paramilitary organizations. And that’s what I saw here. I mean, did they really need all of those officers? Did they really need weapons drawn with this woman, in her home with her two kids, for a laptop? I mean, come on. People around the world look at that and they wonder what the heck’s going on in America?”

Ron Filipkowski, those are my questions. But is there anything else that you’d like our listeners to know about either the Governor’s Covid-19 response or about this raid on the home of Rebecca Jones?

“I just would like to say that you know we have no COVID policy, or no COVID-19 restrictions in Florida. But we as individuals, can take care of ourselves to some degree. And that’s what we’ve been left to do, is to fend to ourselves. We don’t have to go into a restaurant operating at 100% capacity.

“So again, I don’t know if what she (Rebekah Jones) did is right or wrong, whether it’s a violation of the law. The bigger principal is the way the police powers are being used right now, in my view, to silence a critic.”

 

Listen to the 5:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 9 December 2020:

Listen to the 4:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 9 December 2020:

Listen to the 3:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 9 December 2020: