published : 2023-10-01

Police Chief Suspended After Controversial Raid on Kansas Newspaper

Marion Mayor confirms suspension of Chief Gideon Cody

A photograph capturing Marion Mayor Dave Mayfield announcing the suspension of Chief Gideon Cody, taken with a Nikon D850.

The police chief who led a highly criticized raid of a small Kansas newspaper has been suspended, the mayor confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday.

Marion Mayor Dave Mayfield suspended Chief Gideon Cody on Thursday, though he did not elaborate on his decision or mention whether Cody is still being paid.

The Aug. 11 searches of the Marion County Record’s office and the homes of its publisher and a City Council member have sparked widespread criticism, placing Marion at the center of a First Amendment debate.

Cody's suspension comes as a reversal of the mayor's previous statement, where he had expressed his intention to wait for the results of a state police investigation before taking action.

An image showing the Marion County Record building, situated opposite the Marion County Courthouse, taken with a Canon EOS R6.

Vice-Mayor Ruth Herbel, whose home was also raided in August, views Cody's suspension as a positive development for Marion, stating that the town cannot ignore the issue and must address it.

Since the raid, Cody has remained relatively silent, except for a defense he posted on the police department's Facebook page.

In court documents, Cody had argued that he had enough evidence to justify the search warrants, alleging that the newspaper and Herbel had violated state laws related to identity theft or computer crimes.

Legal experts suggest that the raid on the newspaper may have violated federal privacy laws or state laws protecting journalists' sources and unpublished material.

A picture of Vice-Mayor Ruth Herbel expressing her views on Cody's suspension, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

Video footage of the raid at the publisher's home showed the distress his 98-year-old mother experienced during the search, a stress that may have contributed to her passing a day later.

Furthermore, another reporter has filed a federal lawsuit against Cody over the raid.

The suspension of Chief Gideon Cody brings forth a new chapter in the ongoing controversy surrounding the raid on a Kansas newspaper, forcing the town of Marion to confront the national spotlight.