Wednesday, July 10, 2024

$ettlement Reached in Police Raid of Kansas Newspaper

Almost one year after the authorities raided The Marion County Record, a Kansas weekly newspaper, a former reporter has reached a $235,000 settlement as part of a lawsuit she filed over the search, which set off a national discussion about press freedoms.

Gideon Cody
The NY Times reports the settlement, dated June 25, brought an end to a lawsuit filed by the former reporter, Deb Gruver, against Gideon Cody, who resigned as the Marion city police chief in October in the face of mounting pressure.

Gruver’s lawsuit claimed that Cody had caused injury to her hand while forcibly obtaining her personal cellphone during the raid. Body-camera footage corroborated Ms. Gruver’s account, according to Eric Meyer, the newspaper’s publisher.

Gruver, who left the newspaper last fall, said in a letter to the editor that she “no longer wanted to work in a town where the majority of ‘leaders’ clearly don’t respect the Fourth Estate or the U.S. Constitution,” The Record reported.

On Aug. 11, 2023, local police and county sheriff’s deputies raided the office of The Record and the homes of a councilwoman and Mr. Meyer. The raid at the newsroom sparked outrage and a nationwide debate over First Amendment rights.

The authorities said the search was part of an investigation into how a document, which contained information about a local restaurant owner’s steps to restore her driver’s license, had been obtained by the newspaper. The authorities said that the acquisition may have constituted identity theft and other crimes.

No article containing the government record had been published, and The Record said that it had obtained the document from a confidential source.

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