We've Got a WILD Story About Police Raiding the Office of a Newspaper That Claims it Was Investigating the Chief for a Sex Scandal. And the Raid Killed the Paper's Owner.

Mark Reinstein. Shutterstock Images.

There are few, if any, institutions that have disappeared over the course of my adult life like local newspapers. The one I grew up on was an essential part of the life of everyone I knew. You got your regional and national news from it. The sports page was a daily read. On Saturday, you checked the wedding announcements and entertainment section. Now it exists only for you to check online to see which funeral home a wake is at and when the visiting hours are. 

But they're not quite extinct yet. The gentleman in this photo is 69 year old Eric Meyer, who until recently co-owned the Marion County Register in Kansas, along with his 98 year old mother. Reportedly, the two of them refused to close the paper down, stopped taking paychecks, used all the revenue to pay their employees, and kept the Record afloat, just as a labor of love. I put that "co-owned in the past tense because Joan Meyer is no longer with us. She lost her life recently, and Eric is blaming local law enforcement. 

Because if there's one thing that has been around long before there were newspapers and will long outlive them, it's that other noble institution, the Sex Scandal. And Meyer claims that his paper's investigation into the local police chief not only got his business raided, it killed his mom:

Daily Mail - The police chief of a small town in Kansas was being investigated by the local newspaper over allegations of sexual misconduct before he ordered his entire department to raid the newspaper offices, it has emerged.

The publisher's 98-year-old mother, Joan Meyer, who co-owned the paper, died the day after the raid - having told The Wichita Eagle: 'These are Hitler tactics, and something has to be done.'

Her son Eric Meyer, 69, said his mother was devastated at the seizure of computers and servers from The Marion County Record offices.

The police department claimed the raid was carried out because they had concerns of 'identity theft', after the newspaper obtained evidence of a possible liquor license violation.

But the news operation was sure the raid was due to their investigation of Gideon Cody, 54. He became chief of the Marion County Police Department in late April, after leaving the Kansas City police amid allegations of sexual misconduct. 

That would be this guy:

And this would be the raid:

It continues:

Kansas City police have refused to reveal whether Cody was accused of sexual misconduct while working at their force.

Meyer said the identity of the sources was on the computer servers, which Cody's team seized.

'I may be paranoid that this has anything to do with it, but when people come and seize your computer, you tend to be a little paranoid,' Meyer told The Handbasket. … 

'[Cody] didn't know who our sources were. He does now.' … 

'This is Gestapo tactics from World War II.'

And the plot thickens:

More Daily Mail - The Kansas restaurant owner who sparked a police raid on a local newspaper that shocked its 98-year-old co-owner so much that she died has been pictured. …

Kari Newell - who accused the Marion County Record of getting information illegally about her previous DUI as she was trying to obtain a liquor license for restaurant Chef's Plate at Parlour 1886- triggered the police raid on Friday. .

She also allegedly was unhappy with the newspaper had reported on how Newell kicked out reporters from an event at her restaurant, Kari's Kitchen. 

During a city council meeting on August 7 - four days before the raid - she stood up and accused the newspaper of illegally obtaining data on her. Meyer has denied this was ever done illegally. 

The Kansas Bureau of Investigations are now leading the criminal probe into the ordeal, after Cody was slammed for how he conducted the search. 

I get there's a lot to digest here, so I'll stop here. Other than to add news outlets have requested to see the documents that authorized a police department to raid a newspaper and an old lady's home, seize all their records, hard drives and even personal phones. In a country where their liberty to keep that information all to themselves is not only protected by law, it gets a mention in the first 30 words of the Bill of Rights. But so far neither Chief Cody's department nor the courts have provided a warrant or answered a bloody question about it. 


We throw around words like "Hitler" and "Gestapo" way too easily these days. But in Joan and Eric Meyer's case, you can't blame them. This raid was a right out of the National Socialist Party's handbook. A few shattered windows and some flaming torches away from being another Reichstag Fire. 

But to me, it's more comical than that. This is straight up something out of a dark redneck comedy. A move Buford T. Justice would try to pull. 

Giphy Images.

Or a thing you'd expect from the Sheriff that Boyd Crowder got elected in Season 3 of Justified to help his backwoods drug and whore empire. And to think, Gideon Cody - who has a name straight out of an Elmore Leonard story - would have the brass balls to order this authoritarian Code Red on Freedom of the Press after about four months on the job. 

We still don't know what "sexual misconduct" allegations against Cody the Record was working on. But after all this, we sure deserve to find out. It had better be something really good, because heads should roll on this. Careers destroyed. Even if, like that German political party we mentioned earlier, the officers "were just following orders." They had to know that, not only was this operation super duper illegal, it was un-fricking-American as all hell. And not worth losing a pension over, just to protect the phony baloney job of one alleged creep. And most of all, is the kind of thing that people who hate all cops use as an example of blatant police misconduct. Which it clearly is. To the point those of us who are predisposed to supporting law enforcement would never try to defend it. Because it's a grotesque abuse of power.

So congrats, Gideon Cody. The vast majority of us couldn't have given fewer fucks about a small town police chief involved in some kind of sexual shenanigans. But your insane, illegal overreaction, you've Streisand Effected this thing to the point now we have to know. I know I'll be staying tuned for further updates.