Marion County Record: Police chief resigns after investigation by local Kansas newspaper

Marion County Register/AP

Surveillance footage provided by the Marion County Record shows authorities seizing computers and cell phones from the newspaper on Aug. 11.



CNN

The police chief of Marion, Kansas, ordered widely criticized law enforcement Check the local newspaper The mayor said the city had resigned its publisher’s residence this summer.

Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody resigned Monday, Mayor David Mayfield told CNN, but declined to comment further, saying it was a “personal matter.”

Officer Zach Hudlin has been named Marion’s acting police chief, the mayor said. Hudlin was present during the search of Marion County records and seized items, including a cellphone from a reporter at the newspaper, according to a copy of the search warrant.

CNN has reached out to Hudlin for comment.

The Kansas Peace Officers Association did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on Cody’s resignation.

The leader’s departure comes after his presence Suspended The investigation into the raid last week continues.

In August, authorities raided the Marion County Recorder’s Office and the home of a newspaper publisher and county councilwoman, seizing reporters’ cellphones and computers and other items. The move drew widespread criticism from news organizations and press freedom advocates.

Eric Meyer, the magazine’s publisher, said he believed the raid in Marion, about 60 miles north of Wichita, was prompted by a story about a local restaurant owner. But officials said they were investigating what they called “identity theft.” In a search warrant.

Cody suggested the raids were based on the belief that a reporter at the time illegally obtained the restaurant owner’s driving records. According to unredacted affidavits obtained by CNN.

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But less than a week into the trials, Marion County’s top prosecutor, Joel Enc The search warrants were withdrawn He also asked the authorities to return the seized items, saying “there is insufficient evidence to establish a legally sufficient connection between this crime and the premises searched and the items seized”.

The former police chief has also faced The federal lawsuit, filed by Marion County Record reporter Debbie Gruver, Cody alleged a violation of his constitutional rights by obtaining an “unreasonable and illegal” search warrant and seizing his personal property.

The lawsuit alleges Cody targeted Gruver because he knew he was investigating allegations of misconduct against the chief during his tenure with the Kansas City Police Department, although the newspaper did not publish those allegations.

In addition to seizing his computer, Gruver claims Cody also seized his personal cell phone, which the lawsuit argues was not covered by the warrant. Cody did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment at the time.

It is not just the Inspector General of Police who has faced setbacks in these raids.

Judge Laura Weir, A signatory to a search warrant authorizing the searchesHe faces a complaint about his decision and has been asked by the Justice Department to respond, records shared with CNN by the complainant show.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is now the lead law enforcement agency overseeing police raids on the mayor’s office and home, the bureau previously told CNN.

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