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Kansas Newspaper Publisher Sues Officials Over Police Raid

The publisher of a Kansas newspaper raided by police in August is suing officials involved in the move, accusing them of retaliating against the paper and violating its First Amendment rights. The raid on the Marion County Record’s newsroom and the home of its editor and publisher, Eric Meyer, alarmed press and free-speech advocates. Meyer alleges that the stress of the raid led to the sudden death of his mother, Joan, who lived with him and co-owned the paper, reports the Washington Post. Several officials have resigned since news outlets descended on the town after the raid. The nearly 130-page federal lawsuit — the fourth filed against officials accused of involvement in the raid — alleges a tense history between those who carried it out and the weekly newspaper. It names the city, Marion County Sheriff Jeff Soyez, detective Aaron Christner, the Board of County Commissioners, acting police chief Zach Hudlin, former police chief Gideon Cody and former mayor David Mayfield as defendants.

Meyer described the raid as “a weaponizing of the criminal justice system to settle personal scores” in a statement Wednesday, adding that it “proved fatal to my 98-year-old mother.” “With the same spirit she showed in standing up to the seven bullies who spent hours raiding her home, we must now continue her fight for the most cherished of American traditions — freedom of expression and freedom from abuse by those acting under the color of law,” Meyer wrote. Days before the August incident, a Marion restaurant owner who was seeking a liquor license alleged that the Record had illegally obtained information about a previous drunken driving conviction, which would jeopardize the application under Kansas law.


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