Newly released surveillance video has shed light on an incident that took place on August 11, in which the co-owner of a Kansas newspaper, 98-year-old Joan Meyer, angrily confronted police officers during a controversial raid on her home. The video, captured by Meyer's security cameras, shows a visibly upset Meyer using her walker to follow the officers around her house, shouting expletives at them. "Don't you touch any of that stuff! Does your mother love you? You're an a-hole, police chief. You're the chief? Oh, God, get out of my house!" she yells at the officers. The video was shared online by Meyer's paper, The Marion County Record.
The raid, which has since been linked to Meyer's death just a day later, came amid an ongoing feud between The Marion County Record and local restaurant owner Kari Newell. The newspaper allegedly possessed leaked documents that could have potentially resulted in the revocation of Newell's liquor license, including evidence of her conviction for drunk driving and her continued operation of a vehicle without a license. Instead of reporting the story, the paper chose to notify the police, suspecting that the documents they had received were obtained unlawfully. Newell then accused the newspaper of illegally obtaining and disseminating the sensitive documents.
The controversial search warrant authorized law enforcement officers to seize several items related to the investigation, including computer software and hardware, digital communications, cellular networks, servers, hard drives, items with passwords, utility records, and all documents and records pertaining to Newell. The Marion Kansas Police Department defended its actions, claiming that the journalists were suspected of criminal activity and therefore not protected under federal laws. However, the Marion County attorney later rescinded the search warrant, stating that the police lacked sufficient evidence.
During the raid, one of The Marion County Record's reporters was injured when an officer grabbed her cell phone out of her hand. The newspaper reported that although some of the seized items have been returned, they are still missing four computers, two hard drives, and a router. These items will be sent to a forensic expert to determine whether the police may have illegally obtained any information.
Joan Meyer's death and the controversial police raids have sparked outrage and raised concerns about the violation of the newspaper's First Amendment rights. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case, but no charges have been announced thus far. The Marion County City Council is set to host a town meeting, but they have stated that they will not be commenting on the ongoing investigation.