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Kansas newspaper co-owner, 98, dies after 'tearfully' watching police raid her home

Big Data

Charismatic Member
Jan 27, 2023
I was totally shocked when I read this.

The Telegraph

Kansas newspaper co-owner, 98, dies after 'tearfully' watching police raid her home​

David Millward
Mon, August 14, 2023 at 3:29 AM GMT+2·3 min read

Longtime Marion County Record journalist Joan Meyer, 98, died on Saturday less than 24 hours after a police raid at her home

Longtime Marion County Record journalist Joan Meyer, 98, died on Saturday less than 24 hours after a police raid at her home - THE WICHITA EAGLE
The elderly co-owner of a local newspaper in Kansas has died after police raided her home.

Joan Meyer, 98, who owned the Marion County Record with her son Eric, collapsed after being traumatised by police descending on her home.
Police were accused of behaving like the Gestapo in the raid on the paper, which has a circulation of 2,200.

The raid on the offices and the proprietor’s home by five police officers and two deputies has ignited a debate of the freedom of the press and the first amendment right to free speech.
According to the paper, Mrs Meyer was “stressed beyond her limits” when police descended on her home.

She watched in tears as the officers, armed with a search warrant, took away her computer, internet router and Alexa smart speaker.
Mr Meyer, 69, said his mother, who was previously in good health for her age, was unable to eat or sleep after the raid.
Eric Meyer, the editor and publisher of the Marion County Record

Eric Meyer, the editor and publisher of the Marion County Record - AP
Police also raided the offices of the paper, confiscating computers and two reporters’ mobile phones.

Mr Meyer told the Kansas Reflector police took “everything we have”.

He added that in his 20 years at the Milwaukee Journal or 26 years teaching journalism at the University of Illinois, he had never heard of the police raiding a paper.

“It’s going to have a chilling effect on us even tackling issues,” Mr Meyer said, as well as “a chilling effect on people giving us information”.
The offices of the Marion County Record

The offices of the Marion County Record - AP

It was also condemned by Emily Bradbury, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, who said it was unprecedented.

“An attack on a newspaper office through an illegal search is not just an infringement on the rights of journalists but an assault on the very foundation of democracy and the public’s right to know,” Ms Bradbury said. “This cannot be allowed to stand.”
According to the paper’s website, Mrs Meyer “tearfully watched during the raid as police not only carter away her computer...but also dug through her son Eric’s personal bank and investment statements.”
The last printed issue of the Marion County Record

The last printed issue of the Marion County Record - AP

Mr Meyer added: “Basically, all the law enforcement officers on duty in Marion County, Kansas, descended on our offices today and seized our server and computers and personal cellphones of staff members all because of a story we didn’t publish.”

The raid was triggered by a dispute with a local businesswoman over a story which was not even published.

Local police chief Gideon Cody said: “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.”

He added: “The Marion Kansas Police Department believes it is the fundamental duty of the police is to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all members of the public.

“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.”


Moderator comment: Added link to story. Please include link in future.
Last edited by a moderator:


Gifted One
Staff member
Apr 16, 2021
Perched on a rock in Canada

Kansas newspaper says it investigated local police chief prior to newsroom raid​

The small-town Kansas newspaper raided by police officers on Friday had been looking into allegations of misconduct against the local chief just months ago, according to the paper's publisher, raising further concerns about the law enforcement officers' motives.

The Marion, Kansas police department confiscated computers, cell phones and a range of other reporting materials from the office of the Marion County Record — the sole local paper in a small city of about 2,000 residents. Officers spent hours in the newsroom. It also seized material from one of its journalist's homes. Eric Meyer, the publisher and co-owner of the newspaper, said his 98-year-old mother passed away the day after police raided her house, where Meyer was staying at the time. He said he believes the stress from the raid contributed to her death.

The raids sparked coast-to-coast outrage among journalists and advocates for freedom of speech, including a letter of protest signed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

"The U.S. Supreme Court, over the years, has said that people in authority — government officials — have to suffer a free press," says Sandy Banisky, a lawyer who taught media law at the University of Maryland's journalism school and also former senior editor at the Baltimore Sun. "Incidents like this have to be examined and exposed thoroughly to be sure that the kind of raid that happened in Marion, Kansas doesn't happen around the country."

The Marion County Record conducted "routine background checks" in the lead-up to police chief Gideon Cody's start-date, according to Meyer. When the paper published a story about Cody's candidacy for the police chief position, Meyer said it received anonymous tips from several of his former colleagues, who alleged misconduct.

Police chief "has reason to not like us"​

Cody was sworn in as Marion's police chief on June 1 after retiring from the Kansas City Police Department in late April, according to the department's employee retirement website.

"It was alarming, to say the least, the number of people who came forward, and some of the allegations they made were fairly serious," Meyer said. "We were simply looking into the question."

The police chief was aware the paper was looking into his background. Meyer said a Record reporter approached Cody seeking comment on the allegations. In response, Meyer said Cody threatened to sue the paper.

NPR reached out to Cody, who declined to confirm whether he threatened to sue the paper, or whether the raid was linked to the newsroom's reporting on his background.

Meyer said the police chief "has reason to not like us," but he stressed that he didn't know if there was a connection between his paper's reporting and the raid.

Any communications between the Record's reporters and Cody are stored on the computers the officers seized during the raid, Meyer added. The newsroom currently does not have access to these documents.

"We can't consult our source material," Meyer said. "It's been taken away from us."

Erosion of police transparency​

Prior to Cody's tenure as police chief, the Marion police department had upheld a decades-long practice of releasing a list of the department's routine activities each week, Meyer said. The Record would publish this list in its weekly edition, detailing the general areas where officers conducted investigations or responded to complaints.

But that practice came to an abrupt halt when Cody took the helm of the department, according to Meyer.

"He cited reasons of privacy," Meyer said. "Tracing back 60 years, it's been a regular feature of the paper."

Cody did not respond to a request for comment on this change in department policy.

Search warrant also raises red flags​

County magistrate judge Laura Viar signed a search warrant on Friday morning, authorizing the Marion police department to raid the Record. The warrant cites suspected "identity theft" of a local restaurant owner as the reason for the raid.

On Friday, just after the raid, the Record requested access to the probable cause affidavit — the document that would outline why the judge saw reason to authorize the raid — from the Marion County District Court.

But the court's written response, reviewed by NPR, indicates that document may not exist.

"This Court is unable to respond to this request as there is not a probable cause affidavit filed," judge Viar wrote in response to the newsroom's request.
Cody justified the raid in a statement to NPR, claiming it was legal because of an exception to the federal Privacy Protection Act, which broadly prohibits law enforcement officials from searching for or seizing information from reporters.

"It is true that in most cases, [the Privacy Protection Act] 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," Cody said.

But there's broad consensus among media lawyers that the police department's legal reasoning doesn't hold up, since the alleged crime is linked to news gathering — which is protected by federal law.


What happened here is absolutely terrible! My understanding is that the newspaper is planning to sue both the police department and the judge. Consensus is that they will win big time!


Gifted One
Apr 15, 2021
Oh boy... can't wait to see who gets burnt in this one.