Third Employee Sues After Police Raid on Local Kansas Newspaper

It has been almost eight months since law enforcement raided the Marion County Record’s newsroom, and the lawsuits are a-coming. A third employee of the news outlet has filed a lawsuit against the police department with a series of allegations.

Cheri Bentz, the newspaper’s office manager, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging unlawful detention, interrogation, and seizure of her cellphone during the August 2023 raid. The action on the part of law enforcement was widely panned as an encroachment on First Amendment protections of freedom of the press.

The implications of the raid have reached far beyond the news outlet. It sparked a national conversation about the protection of journalistic sources. The raid occurred after the newspaper published stories about a restaurant owner who ejected reporters from a meeting that involved a member of Congress on the premises and the restaurateur’s conviction for drunk driving.

In her lawsuit, Bentz recounts being shocked and confused about the raid, characterizing it as “unprecedented” and “retaliatory.” The lawsuit discusses how she explained to officers that she was not involved with the newspaper’s reportage, saying, “I have no idea because what they do – I have no idea.”

Former Police Chief Gideon Cody resigned in October, just days after being suspended. He has been implicated in the legal action. He initially justified the raid as part of an investigation into whether the news outlet had committed identity theft or other crimes by accessing public information about the restaurant owner’s driving record. Officers also raided the home of 98-year-old Joan Meyer, co-owner of the newspaper and the mother of Eric Meyer, who ran the outlet. She tragically passed away the day after the raid.

The raid represents a critical flashpoint in the discussion over press freedom in America. Bentz’s lawsuit adds to the chorus of voices speaking out against the actions of law enforcement. The outcome of the proceedings could affect how journalism is protected under the law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Australia’s Left-Wing Govt. Celebrates Easter Sunday as ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’

Could Russia Have Averted the Moscow Concert Hall Attack?