What police found on computers seized in Marion County Record raid.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The attorney for the Marion County Record has finished the forensic investigation into what the Marion Police Department found from computers taken from the newspaper.
The answer — not much.
The Marion, Kansas, Police Department raided the paper, the home of its publisher and Vice Mayor Ruth Herbal last month, reportedly in connection with an identity theft investigation.
In the affidavit seeking search warrants, Police Chief Gideon Cody accused a reporter at the paper of misrepresentation to access the driver’s license information of a Marion business owner.
In the affidavit, police were allowed to:
“Conduct a preview search of all located digital communications devices and digital storage media to exclude from seizure those which have not been involved in the identity theft.”
The attorney representing the paper, Bernie Rhodes, told KCTV5 investigates that police didn’t do a preview search, instead, they downloaded the RAM off the computer — but no files.
“The search was a pretense to intimidate the newspaper,” said Rhodes. “They found no evidence of a crime.”
The affidavit also stated that police should only take a computer “that has been used” to access the Kansas Department of Revenue website.”
Rhodes said that although they took all the computers they only searched one.
“It was a show of who’s large and in charge in Marion, Kansas,” said Rhodes. “i.e. Chief Cody.”
Days after the raid, the Marion County Attorney withdrew the warrants citing “insufficient evidence” and ordered that all the items to be returned.
The Sheriff’s Department has returned pictures that the office took during the raid, but the paper is still waiting for photos members of the Police Department took with phones.
Joan Meyer claimed police took pictures of her son Eric Meyer’s financial statements which would be completely outside the scope of the warrant.
Joan was 98 years old and died the day following the raid. Her son believes the raid contributed to her death. The KBI is now investigating the procedures that led up to the raid.
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