Florida State "Kidnapping" of Rebekah Jones' Son
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Florida State "Kidnapping" of Rebekah Jones' Son refers to the purported arrest of the son of Rebekah Jones, a Florida politician and activist best known for claiming she refused to falsify the state's COVID-19 data. In early April 2023, she claimed her son was arrested for sharing a meme critical of police action in school shooting incidents in a Snapchat group. Jones implied that the arrest, which she dubbed a "kidnapping," was a political intimidation tactic by Florida government officials, such as Ron DeSantis, as she had recently filed a lawsuit against the state.
Rebekah Jones rose to national awareness at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic after she was fired from her position in the Florida Department. She claimed this was because she refused to falsify COVID-19 data on behalf of the government. Since then, she has remained a vocal critic of Ron DeSantis and ran against Matt Gaetz in the 2022 Congressional election, ultimately losing. In March 2023, she then notably filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida to get her job back.
On April 5th, 2023, Jones tweeted a thread accusing the state of Florida of arresting her son, 13, as a political intimidation tactic (shown below).
She claimed that after she filed her lawsuit to get her job back, a "kid claiming to be the cousin of one of [her] son's classmates" joined a Snapchat group with her son and "recorded their conversations." In the group, her son shared a meme that was critical of police officers' response to school shooting incidents (shown below). The meme led to an anonymous tip that her son may be dangerous, but his school and local police officers purportedly "signed off" on the meme not being a threat.
Jones then stated that, two weeks later, state officials had issued a warrant for their son's arrest on the grounds of "digital threats of terrorism." Officials arrested her son and would not let him return, which she dubbed a "kidnapping." Her husband and daughter have also purportedly had to leave the state because Child Protective Services believe they have a terrorism threat in her house.
Her April 5th, 2023, thread went viral shortly after, gaining over 29,000 retweets and 93,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
On April 6th, 2023, the Pensacola News Journal reported on the story, and received a comment from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office, which told the publication it had received reports of a threat from "multiple students," leading to the issuing of a felony warrant. They also said Jones turned her son into the Sheriff's office following the issuing of the warrant.
Also on April 6th, Jones tweeted her resolve to continue fighting DeSantis and get her son back (shown below). As of April 6th, Jones has not stated that her son has been released from prison.
Later that day, conflicting reports emerged about the breadth of threats allegedly made by Jones' son. It appears Jones' son did share two memes that could be interpreted as more threatening than the one Jones herself shared on Twitter. One had a caption that read "I’m feeling so silly I might shoot up a building full of people" while another shows a brain thinking "reach for the officer's gun," captioned "me every time i see school security."
Officers also cited several Snapchat messages allegedly sent by Jones' son in their warrant. These read:
“I want to shoot up the school”
- “If I get a gun I’m gonna shoot up hnms lol”
- “Not like I have access to one anyway”
- “I’m getting a wrath and natural selection shirt so maybe but I don’t think many ppl know what the columbine shooters look like”
- “I always keep a knife on me so maybe I’ll just stab ppl idk”
- “Nah if I do kill people I’ll just kill myself”
However, the Miami Herald reported that an unredacted version of the police report they'd obtained showed that the messages were not sent by the same account that posted the above memes. Furthermore, Jones sent them screenshots of her son's Snapchat account, which appeared to show he'd never used the handle that posted the messages.
Following her initial tweet about the story on April 5th, 2023, word of her son's purported arrest began garnering attention online, generating discourse, media coverage and other reactions.
On April 5th, Jones' thread spread outside of Twitter as it was posted to /r/whitepeopletwitter, where it gained over 74,000 points in less than 24 hours. Jones' tweets also inspired a thread on /r/OutOfTheLoop, gaining over 980 points in one day.
 Cosmopolitan – Rebekah Jones Tried to Warn Us About COVID-19. Now Her Freedom Is on the Line
 City and State FL – Years after firing, Rebekah Jones now suing state of Florida to get job back
 Twitter – GeoRebekah
 Pensacola News Journal – Rebekah Jones' 13-year-old son arrested in Navarre, Florida for 'digital threats of terrorism'
 Reddit – /r/whitepeopletwitter
 Reddit – /r/outoftheloop
 Twitter – GeoRebekah
 Yahoo News – Rebekah Jones' son arrested in Florida
 Miami Herald – Son of Rebekah Jones, Florida whistle-blower, arrested in probe of threatening internet posts
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Apr 06, 2023 at 11:46PM EDT
Apr 07, 2023 at 11:24PM EDT
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