Police Chief Who Led Raid On Small Kansas Newspaper Suspended: Reports
Chase Castor for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The mayor of a small town in Kansas reportedly suspended the police chief who led the August raids of a local newspaper’s office and homes of its owners, including a 98-year-old woman who died less than 24 hours later, in a move that garnered national attention from news organizations and freedom of press advocates.

Marion Mayor Dave Mayfield told The Associated Press that he had suspended Chief Gideon Cody on Thursday, who led the August 11 raids on parties involved with the Marion County Record, a family-owned weekly newspaper serving a community about 60 miles north of Wichita.

“I did indeed suspend chief Cody and I won’t discuss any details regarding his suspension as it is a personnel matter,” Mayfield said in an email to CNN.

Mayfield’s decision reportedly comes after previously saying he would take action after reviewing the findings of a state police investigation.

Vice-Mayor Ruth Herbel said suspending Cody is “the best thing that can happen to Marion right now,” according to The Associated Press.

“We can’t duck our heads until it goes away, because it’s not going to go away until we do something about it,” Herbel said, whose home was also searched in the raid.

The Marion County Record was named in a search warrant signed by Marion County Court Magistrate Judge Laura Viar in August which alleged violations of identity theft and “unlawful acts concerning computers.”

Authorities searched the home of Eric Meyer, co-owner and publisher of the paper founded more than 150 years ago, and the Marion County Record’s newsroom after reporters dug into allegations that the police department had turned a blind eye to a local sweet shop owner driving with a suspended license after a DUI.

Four Marion police officers and three sheriff’s deputies reportedly seized personal cell phones, computers, and other materials at Meyer’s home and the Marion County Record office, including some unrelated equipment needed to publish.

The police department said it believed a reporter might have committed identity theft in pulling records on the local sweets shop owner, but both the newspaper and the reporter said they only accessed publicly available records.

Authorities also searched the home of Joan Meyer, the 98-year-old mother of Eric and co-owner of the Marion County Record.


A minute-and-a-half clip shows police raiding her house on August 11, where Meyer can be heard shouting at the cops while wearing her robe and slippers and using her walker. She died less than 24 hours later after she collapsed from hours of “shock and grief,” according to the Record.

Her son said he believes the stress and anger she experienced due to the police raid contributed to her death.

The police department reportedly posted on August 12 on Facebook, “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.”

Legal experts reportedly believe the search from law enforcement violated a federal privacy law that protects journalists from having their newsrooms searched or a state law protecting journalists from disclosing sources or turning over unpublished material to authorities.

Cody reportedly defended the raid in a Facebook post, saying the federal law makes an exception specifically for “when there is reason to believe the journalist is taking part in the underlying wrongdoing.”

Mairead Elordi contributed to this report.

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