Cops raided a smalltown newspaper so no-one would ever find out about police chief Gideon Cody's alleged sexual misconduct or Kari Newell's DUI conviction

The Marion County Record was raided by local police, who took all of its equipment and even confiscated the personal cellphones of workers there, they claim. The newspaper's co-owner, 98-year-old Joan Meyer, died within hours of the smash-and-grab, and journalistic organizations are sounding the alarm about a shocking attack on the press.

The Marion County Record's co-owner and publisher, Eric Meyer, believes Friday's raid was prompted by a story published Wednesday about a local business owner. Authorities countered they are investigating what they called "identity theft" and "unlawful acts concerning computers," according to a search warrant.

"Based on public reporting, the search warrant that has been published online, and your public statements to the press, there appears to be no justification for the breadth and intrusiveness of the search —particularly when other investigative steps may have been available — and we are concerned that it may have violated federal law strictly limiting federal, state, and local law enforcement's ability to conduct newsroom searches," the letter said.

Turns out the police chief, Gideon Cody, thought that the paper was about to publish a story about him leaving his last job after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Meyer said that, before the raid, his newspaper had investigated Cody's background and his time at the Kansas City Police Department before he came to Marion. He declined to provide details of the newspaper's investigation of Cody. "I really don't think it would be advisable for me to say what it was we were investigating, other than to characterize the charges as serious….," Meyer said. He told The Star the newspaper didn't publish a story about the allegations. "We didn't publish it because we couldn't nail it down to the point that we thought it was ready for publication," he said. "He (Cody) didn't know who our sources were. He does now." Meyer said the newspaper told city leaders they had received information about Cody but could not confirm it.

Another factor in the raid appears to be the anger of a local politically-involved restauranteur:

He and his reporter Phyllis Zorn were kicked out of an August 2nd meeting at a local establishment with US Congressman Jake LaTurner (R-KS) by the City of Marion Police Chief after restaurant owner Kari Newell demanded they leave. Meyer and Zorn published a subsequent story about the hostile encounter, which infuriated Newell and prompted angry Facebook posts. 

The paper then received a tip about Newell having her license suspended in 2008 after a DUI, checked it out, decided not to publish it, and ultimately shared it with the local police because they believed it might've been shared with them as part of Newell's ongoing divorce battle. The police then told Newell what the newspaper shared, and she attended Monday's City Council meeting to make outrageous claims about the newspaper and one of the council members (who had also obtained the letter) violating her rights. She also called Meyer later that evening and erroneously accused him of identity theft. Not even four days later, police arrived at the newspaper office, Meyer's home and the council member's home with search warrants signed by a judge

Lots of things about to be tried in this small town.