We condemn the Marion County Record raid


On Aug. 11 an attack on the free press took place in Marion, Kansas, in which the Marion Police Department raided the town’s newspaper, the Marion County Record, and the publisher’s home. We condemn the raid and its threat to journalism.

The police obtained a search warrant, citing identity theft and unlawful acts concerning computers. The raid has since garnered widespread criticism for infringing on free press, accusing the police of making up the reason for removing documents from the Record.

Marion County District Court Magistrate Judge Laura Viar signed a search warrant authorizing the police raid of the newspaper office. (Sam Bailey | From the Kansas Reflector)

One of a news organization’s biggest jobs is acting as a mirror, accurately reflecting events and relevant information to the public. A press under unjust threat of search and seizure from those in power is a press that cannot do its job effectively. The Record is taking legal action through a lawyer to retrieve their seized documents. We support the Record in fighting back, to prevent a precedent being set where the government can intimidate the press.

We are glad Marion County has withdrawn the warrants, but we stand with the Record in expecting full justice for the police’s actions, including the return of all its documents.

We send our condolences to Eric Meyer, publisher of the Record, for the death of his 98-year-old mother, Joan Meyer. They co-owned the Record, and Joan died a day after the raid. Eric believes her death was because of stress from the police.

Small towns need newspapers and local coverage, and it’s important to have publications that are able to do their jobs without threat from police and government. As Eric Meyer said, “Democracy is built on discussion and openness, and when you start closing that down, it’s dangerous.”