The Marion Police Department defended its unprecedented raid on a local newspaper’s office and the publisher’s home.
As 100 Percent Fed Up noted, local law enforcement raided the Marion County Record’s office and seized computers, cellphones, and reporting materials.
Marion County Record claimed the raid, which they called illegal and resembling “Gestapo tactics,” contributed to the death of 98-year-old co-owner Joan Meyer.
From our prior reporting:
“Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of the newspaper, said police were motivated by a confidential source who leaked sensitive documents to the newspaper,” the Kansas Reflector reports.
“The raid followed news stories about a restaurant owner who kicked reporters out of a meeting last week with U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, and revelations about the restaurant owner’s lack of a driver’s license and conviction for drunken driving,” the Kansas Reflector writes.
“It’s going to have a chilling effect on us even tackling issues,” Meyer said.
According to Marion County Record, the illegal raid, resembling “Gestapo tactics,” contributed to the death of the newspaper’s co-owner.
“Stressed beyond her limits and overwhelmed by hours of shock and grief after illegal police raids on her home and the Marion County Record newspaper office Friday, 98-year-old newspaper co-owner Joan Meyer, otherwise in good health for her age, collapsed Saturday afternoon and died at her home,” Marion County Record wrote.
“She had not been able to eat after police showed up at the door of her home Friday with a search warrant in hand. Neither was she able to sleep Friday night,” the newspaper continued.
“She tearfully watched during the raid as police not only carted away her computer and a router used by an Alexa smart speaker but also dug through her son Eric’s personal bank and investments statements to photograph them.”
The Assange Effect
Goddamn it. We tried to tell you. https://t.co/kGXbgpXvvN
— Comrade Misty is Putin’s Buddy 🍀 (@SarcasmStardust) August 12, 2023
Marion’s entire five-officer police force and two sheriff’s deputies raided the newspaper after receiving a warrant signed by Marion County District Court Magistrate Judge Laura Viar.
“Officers seized personal cell phones and computers, including the newspaper’s file server, along with other equipment unrelated to the scope of their search,” Marion County Record writes.
Marion County Record expects to file a federal suit against the City of Marion and those involved with the search.
Legal experts contacted about the raid reportedly said it violated multiple state and federal laws, including the U.S. Constitution and multiple court rulings.
This story is crazy!
Cops raided the Marion County Record, a small-town newspaper, and took every bit of their electronic equipment, leaving them without a way to publish their newspaper.
Looks like the police and some connected people in the tiny area of Marion County… pic.twitter.com/Lvgt4anP70
— 🥀_ Imposter 🥀 (@Imposter_Edits) August 12, 2023
However, Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody stands by the raid.
Police chief stands by extensive raid of Kansas newspaper https://t.co/WZsg658LoN
— Just the News (@JustTheNews) August 14, 2023
“As much as I would like to give everyone details on a criminal investigation I cannot. I believe when the rest of the story is available to the public, the judicial system that is being questioned will be vindicated,” Cody told Just the News in a statement.
Just the News reports:
Federal law requires police in most cases to subpoena materials from journalists rather than obtaining them through a search warrant, which Cody acknowledged.
“It is true that in most cases, it requires police to use subpoenas, rather than search warrants, to search the premises of journalists unless they themselves are suspects in the offense that is the subject of the search,” he wrote, including the emphasis.
The law requires a subpoena for materials from the press except “when there is reason to believe the journalist is taking part in the underlying wrongdoing,” Cody also wrote in bold.
“This commitment must remain steadfast and unbiased, unaffected by political or media influences, in order to uphold the principles of justice, equal protection, and the rule of law for everyone in the community,” he also said.
Eric Meyer’s paper has said the raid, which involved the seizure of his electronics and bank account information, was illegal.