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‘Get out of my house’: 98-year-old co-owner of Kansas newspaper swears at police during raid

The day before she died, Marion County Record co-owner Joan Meyer lashed out at officers as they raided her home, questioning whether their mothers loved them.
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The co-owner of a Kansas newspaper, who died shortly after law enforcement raided her home, swore at Marion Police Department officers and questioned whether their mothers loved them, according to security footage reviewed by NBC News.

The Aug. 11 raid, which targeted the Marion County Record newsroom as well as the home of its co-owner Joan Meyer, has drawn withering criticism from free speech watchdogs, and Meyer did not hold back in telling officers she didn’t believe they had a right to be there.

“Get out of my house!” Meyer, 98, repeatedly told officers while using her walker to navigate around the home she shared with son Eric Meyer, publisher of the newspaper.

At one point during the search, she challenged an officer and questioned whether his mother loves him.

“Did your mother love you? Do you love on your mother? You’re an a--hole,” the late newspaper co-owner said. “Police chief? You’re the chief? Oh, god. Get out of my house."

Joan Meyer believed she was addressing Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody, but he was actually a few feet away, within earshot in the kitchen, the newspaper's lawyer Bernie Rhodes said Tuesday.

Joan Meyer, a respected, longtime journalist who spent 60 years at the paper, died the day after the raid from stress, Eric Meyer said.

Five days later, Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey found that police had “insufficient evidence” to justify the raids and the prosecutor asked a court to return all seized items.

Image: A tribute to Joan Meyer, the late 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, sits outside the weekly newspaper's office, on Aug. 11, 2023, in Marion, Kan.
A tribute to Joan Meyer, the late 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, sits outside the weekly newspaper's office, on Aug. 11, in Marion, Kansas.John Hanna / AP

Police had raided newspaper offices and other homes, in connection with the agency's belief that a reporter might have committed identity theft in pulling records on restaurant owner Kari Newell, according to a police affidavit supporting the raid.

The newspaper and reporter have said they only accessed records available to the general public to find a 2008 drunk driving conviction against Newell, a fact that she confirmed herself during an open City Council meeting.

During the raid, the Joan Meyer repeatedly told police to leave but officers said they had a court order.

"Get out and stand outside," she said. "You stand outside that door. I don’t want you in my house."

At one point, police asked how many computers are in the home, and she shot back: "I’m not going to tell you."

When she spotted a search in one corner of the living room, she pushed by other officers with her walker.

"Get out of my way, I want to see what they’re doing," she said.

The police chief could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday, and no one picked up publicly listed phone numbers for a woman who appeared to be Cody's mother.