Oct 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Kansas police chief who led raid of local newspaper office has resigned

Marion County record

Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas on Aug. 21. Photo: Chase Castor for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The local police chief who led an August raid of a local newspaper in Marion County, Kansas resigned on Monday, AP reported.

Why it matters: The search of the Marion County Record office, as well as the home of its owners, drew widespread condemnation over First Amendment concerns.

Driving the news: Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody's resignation comes just days after he was suspended, though the reasons for the suspension have not been made public.

  • Body camera footage from the raids obtained by AP showed a police officer going through the desk of a reporter who was keeping a file on Cody, and then beckoning Cody over to see the contents.
  • Marion Mayor Dave Mayfield told AP he couldn't answer questions about Cody's resignation "as it is a personnel matter."
  • Cody, Mayfield, and Marion Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
  • Marion City Council voted Monday to name the police department's senior patrol officer, Zach Hudlin, as the acting police chief, the New York Times reported. Hudlin did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: "It's long overdue. You know, we had to wait more than six weeks to get him suspended," said Eric Meyer, the Record's editor and publisher, in a statement, per AP.

Catch up quick: The police raids occurred following a complaint from restaurant owner Kari Newell, who accused the paper of illegally obtaining and disseminating information about her drunken driving conviction.

  • The newspaper has said it had obtained the information legally from a tip and used public online records to verify details.
  • A prosecutor in Marion County later determined that there had been insufficient evidence to justify a raid and withdrew the search warrant, ordering the items seized to be returned.
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