Federal Lawsuit Filed By Reporter Against Police Chief Who Raided Kansas Newspaper’s Office

Security camera footage showed a 98-year-old woman who had her house raided by Kansas police officers.
Security camera footage showed a 98-year-old woman who had her house raided by Kansas police officers. (@jeffcharlesjr / Twitter screen shot)

The Gateway Pundit reported in August that a Kanas newspaper was raided by the entire city’s police force leaving the 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, Joan Meyer, dead.

During the raid, Joan, waiting for a Meals on Wheels delivery and reportedly watched tearfully as the police conducted their search. The distressing event left her unable to eat or sleep, that contributed to her death, according to the newspaper.

Joan Meyer, newswoman since 1953 (Source: Kansas.com)

In addition to Joan Meyer’s death, one of the newspaper’s reporters, Deb Gruver, was injured when an officer grabbed her cellphone out of her hand.

On Wednesday, Gruver filed a federal lawsuit against the police chief for violating her constitutional rights.

The complaint asserts, “Chief Cody first handed Ms. Gruver the Warrant when he arrived, and as she began to read it, she began to access her personal cellular phone – telling Chief Cody that she needed to call [publisher] Eric Meyer. Chief Cody responded by reaching over the papers and snatching the phone out of her hand.”

Further, “In seizing Ms. Gruver’s personal cellular phone despite the seizure exceeding the scope of the unreasonable and unlawful search warrant, Chief Cody acted in unreasonable and unnecessarily violent fashion, causing injury to plaintiff’s Gruver’s rights and her person.”

AP reports:

Deb Gruver believes Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody violated her constitutional rights when he abruptly snatched her personal cellphone out of her hands during a search where officers also seized computers from the Marion County Record’s office, according to the lawsuit. That Aug. 11 search and two others conducted at the homes of the newspaper’s publisher and a City Council member have thrust the town into the center of a debate over the press protections in the First Amendment.


Gruver — a veteran reporter with more than three decades of experience — said in a statement that by filing her lawsuit “I’m standing up for journalists across the country.” She has previously worked at other newspapers in Kansas, Wyoming and Indiana and has won awards for her reporting.

“It is our constitutional right to do this job without fear of harassment or retribution, and our constitutional rights are always worth fighting for,” said Gruver, who had the words “Freedom of the press” tattooed on her right forearm the same day her lawsuit was filed.

Deb Gruver: Image @debrinak/Instagram

The raid was a horrific attack on freedom of the press.

The city of Marion’s five-officer police force, along with two sheriff’s deputies, conducted the raid on the Marion County Record’s office and the home of owner and publisher Eric Meyer.

The raid came on the heels of a bitter feud between the Marion County Record and a local restaurant owner, Kari Newell. The newspaper had reportedly acquired sensitive documents potentially leading to the revocation of Newell’s liquor license. These documents included evidence of drunk driving convictions and operating a vehicle without a license.

While the paper decided not to report the story, it did notify the police about the documents, suspecting they were leaked by someone close to Newell’s ex-husband.

In response, Newell publicly accused the paper of illegally obtaining and disseminating the information. The newspaper published a story to clarify its position, but this was quickly followed by the August raid.


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