Police raid local Kansas newspaper office and homes of reporters | Kansas

Local police in Marion, Kansas, raided the offices of a local newspaper on Friday, as well as the homes of publishers and journalists.

Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of The Marion County Register, Tell The Kansas Reflector said the city’s police force of five officers and two sheriff’s deputies carried out the raid, which included the seizure of computers, cell phones, and reporting materials.

Meyer said the raid and seizure resulted from a confidential source leaking sensitive documents to the newspaper. He criticized confiscation, likening it to confiscation by oppressive government regimes.

Last week, a local restaurant owner, Carrie Newell, had police Remove Marion County Record reporters from an open forum convened by US Congressman Jake LaTourner. The members of Congress apologized for inviting the press.

According to Meyer, a confidential source leaked evidence that Newell was convicted of drink driving and continued to use her car without a license. But the newspaper never published anything related to it because they suspected that the source was passing on information from Newell’s husband during the divorce proceedings.

The Kansas Reflector reported: “Newell was tipped off by the police, who then complained at a city council meeting that the newspaper had illegally obtained and published sensitive documents, which was untrue. Her public comments prompted the newspaper to set things straight in a story published Thursday.”

The newspaper added that Newell admitted to driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.

Then came the raid and seizure on Friday, courtesy of a search warrant for alleged identity theft and illegal computer use. The seized materials included publishing and reporting materials on which the newspaper relied to publish its next edition, and no time frame was given for when the seized computers and phones would be returned.

The Kansas Reflector reported: “The search warrant, which was signed by Marion County Court Judge Laura Fiar, appears to violate Federal law That provides protection from search and seizure of material from journalists. Law requires law enforcement to summon materials instead. Viar did not respond to a request for comment for this story or explain why it authorized the potentially illegal raid.

Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody did not respond to a request for comment.

Press advocates condemned the raid, describing it as a violation of press freedom.

“An attack on a newspaper office with an unlawful search is not just a violation of journalists’ rights, but an assault on the foundation of democracy and the public’s right to know,” said Emily Bradbury, executive director of the Kansas Press Association. in statement to the Kansas reflector. “This cannot be allowed to stand still.”

National Newspaper Association President John Galler added in a statement On Facebook: “Newsroom raids in this country went down in history 50 years ago. Today, law enforcement agencies generally understand that gathering information from newsrooms is a last resort and then only through subpoenas that protect the rights of everyone involved.”

“Intimidating a newspaper with an unannounced search and seizure is unthinkable in an America that respects First Amendment rights.”

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