© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Police raided a small-town Kansas newspaper and its publisher's home. Here's what we know

The offices of the <em>Marion County Record</em> sit across from the Marion County Courthouse in Marion, Kan., on Sunday.
John Hanna
Associated Press
The offices of the Marion County Record sit across from the Marion County Courthouse in Marion, Kansas, on Sunday.

Police raided the offices of the Marion County Record and the home of its publisher in an unprecedented and potentially illegal move that is being called a violation of First Amendment rights.

On Friday, police officers in Marion, Kansas, raided the offices of its local newspaper, the Marion County Record, along with the home of Eric Meyer, the paper's publisher.

During the raid, officers took computer hard drives, the personal cell phones of reporters and any correspondence or records related to a local restaurant owner, who had been feuding with the newspaper. The story has gained national attention as legal experts argue that this was a violation of First Amendment rights.

Sherman Smith, who has been covering this story for the Kansas Reflector, told KCUR's Up To Date that something like this has never happened in Kansas.

"The Privacy Protection Act makes it illegal to do this for anybody who is involved in gathering news," said Smith. "The idea is to protect journalists from raids like this that could be designed to find out who our undercover sources or confidential sources are, which is a direct threat to the First Amendment and to democracy."

The day after the raid, Meyer's 98-year-old mother and co-owner of the paper, Joan, died in her home. Meyer said she was "stressed beyond her limits and overwhelmed by hours of shock and grief" after the police raids were carried out.

Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.