Gideon Cody, the police chief who led a controversial raid on a small weekly newspaper in Marion, Kansas, has resigned from his position. The resignation was announced by Mayor Ruth Herbel during a City Council meeting on Monday. Cody’s departure comes just days after he was suspended for undisclosed reasons.
The raid on the Marion County Record took place in August and sparked a national debate on press freedoms. Cody obtained warrants for the raids based on allegations of possible identity theft and other crimes related to the circulation of information about a local restaurant owner’s driving record. However, a local prosecutor later stated that there was insufficient evidence to justify the search.
Recently obtained body-camera footage from the raid showed an officer going through a reporter’s desk drawer and then calling Cody over to examine the documents found. Cody was heard on the video saying, “Keep a personal file on me. I don’t care.” The video also showed Cody bending over to look at the drawer before being obstructed by another officer’s clipboard.
The newspaper and its attorney have suggested that Cody’s motive for the raid was to uncover the newspaper’s sources and information about his past as a police captain in Kansas City, Missouri. Cody’s tactics have led to one federal lawsuit against him, with more expected.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has taken over the probe into the raid but has not provided any updates on its progress. Cody’s resignation comes amidst mounting scrutiny and legal challenges.
Editor and publisher of the Marion County Record, Eric Meyer, blamed the stress of the raid for the death of his 98-year-old mother, Joan Meyer, who was a co-owner of the newspaper.
Neither Cody nor the mayor responded to requests for comment on the resignation. Cody’s resignation was first reported by the Marion County Record and the Wichita Eagle.