‘Hitler Tactics’ Joan Meyer: Kansas Newspaper Co-Owner Who Denounced Police Raid – Passed Away the Next day

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Kansas newspaper raid

Publisher’s Note: I was stunned to see the story of the raid by police upon the Marion County Record, a local newspaper. Marion is a city in, and the county seat of marion County, Kansas, the population of the city was 1,922 in 2020
I was reminded of the quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller,

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niemöller

This quote was by  Martin Niemöller, a prominent German pastor. It is often mistakenly referred to as a poem. First They Came Martin Niemoller

After World War II, Pastor Niemöller openly spoke about his own early involvement in Nazism and his eventual change of heart. Niemoller’s powerful words about guilt and responsibility still resonate with the world today.

Our Constitution, especially our First Amendment rights are slowly under attack. Just last week a young African-American Nashville woman was telling me she wrote an op-ed, yet Gannett Newspaper would not print what she wrote — Sadly, I wasn’t surprised. I asked her to send it to me and I would post here here in the Tennessee Ledger.

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Kansas authorities have announced the withdrawal of a controversial search warrant that had been executed at a local Kansas newspaper office. The decision comes after a thorough review of the situation by Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey, who concluded that the evidence presented did not establish a legally sufficient connection between the alleged crime and the locations searched, nor the items seized.

Last Friday, the office of the Marion County Record, a local newspaper, found itself at the center of a high-profile incident when law enforcement executed a search warrant. The targets of the raid included publisher Eric Meyer and his mother, along with the residence of vice-mayor Ruth Herbel. The operation resulted in the confiscation of computers, cellphones, and journalistic materials.

The swift and unexpected search sent shockwaves through the community, sparking intense debates over freedom of the press and the extent of law enforcement’s actions. Critics drew parallels between the seizure and tactics employed by authoritarian regimes, asserting that the move encroached upon the fundamental rights protected by the first amendment.

The implications of this incident reverberated beyond local boundaries. On Sunday, a joint response from over 30 news organizations and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was directed at the Marion police department. In this letter, signatories expressed their concern and dismay, questioning the rationale behind the extensive and intrusive search. They voiced a sentiment shared by many: the scale of the operation appeared disproportionate to the circumstances at hand.

While the withdrawal of the search warrant marks a significant development, it also raises questions about the initial decision-making process that led to the execution of the warrant. The episode underscores the delicate balance between law enforcement’s responsibilities and the preservation of constitutional rights, particularly within the realm of press freedom.

As the community grapples with this evolving situation, it serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding the principles that underpin a democratic society, including the freedom of the press and the right to information. The withdrawal of the search warrant may offer some relief, but it also serves as a call for continued vigilance and accountability in upholding the values that define our nation.

Amidst growing national concern and public outcry, Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey has responded resolutely. In a press release, he unveiled a proposed order seeking the release of the seized evidence, advocating for the swift return of the material to its rightful owners. Ensey’s dedication to upholding justice serves as a beacon of hope in a landscape fraught with uncertainty.

As the Kansas Bureau of Investigation takes the reins of the inquiry, Ensey’s office will stand vigilant, prepared to make informed decisions based on rigorous examination. He underscores the essence of our legal system, affirming the principle of presumed innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The heartbreaking loss of Joan Meyer, a 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, casts a somber shadow over this narrative. Her passing, catalyzed by the stress inflicted by the raid, serves as a stark reminder of the human toll in the pursuit of truth and justice. Joan Meyer’s resolute condemnation of what she dubbed “Hitler tactics” serves as a testament to her unwavering commitment to the values she held dear.

The genesis of this upheaval stemmed from a confidential tip received by the newspaper staff. Kari Newell, a local business owner, found herself thrust into the spotlight, despite the absence of any published stories about her in the Marion County Record. The subsequent accusations and counteraccusations paint a complex tapestry of events, highlighting the delicate interplay between media scrutiny and individual privacy.

Amidst this tumultuous saga, the spotlight turned toward the judge who authorized the raid. Laura Viar, the Kansas magistrate judge, found herself under scrutiny for a history of driving under the influence. This revelation serves as a poignant reminder that those tasked with upholding the law must embody the highest standards of ethical conduct.

In the labyrinth of this unfolding drama, a resounding lesson emerges. The delicate equilibrium between press freedom and individual rights demands vigilant guardianship. As we reflect on the multifaceted implications of this incident, let us renew our commitment to accountability, justice, and the unassailable principles that form the foundation of our democratic fabric.

 Visit Marion County Record and their article by Deb Grover.