‘More than amazing’: Marion Police Chief kept restaurant owner updated on raids in real time
Former Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody spoke with the restaurant owner who accused the local newspaper of criminal activity for checking the status of her driver’s license shortly after he raided the newsroom in August, sympathizing with the situation and saying the search turned up “good evidence.”
Bodycam footage from Cody shows a phone call between the then-president and Carrie Newell, owner of two Marion establishments, on the day officers searched the Marion County Register, the home of his publisher Eric Meyer and the home of City Councilwoman Ruth Herpel. Newell accused the newspaper of identity theft after it accessed a public government database to verify that she had a suspended license.
The video shows Cody effectively providing Newell with a play-by-play of the day’s events – providing an alleged victim and witness an unusual window into the ongoing police investigation.
“I have a feeling the attention won’t be on you anymore, it’ll be on me. But that’s part of my job, is to take some of that attention away from people,” Cody says during the call. “As I say, you’re a victim, and you live in this community like everyone else.” Else, you have a right to justice too.”
“They don’t see it that way. They’re screaming out for a $3 million lawsuit. I’m already getting phone calls,” Cody says. “I’ve got this headache that’s out of this world right now.”
At what appears to be the beginning of the call, Cody says, “We can’t write anything down.” Newell replies that she understands.
Cody told Newell that he “just hit on Ruth and Eric – so now I’m headed to Eric’s house.” “Holy shit,” Newell interjects.
Cody points out trying to download the information but tells Newell it didn’t work – an apparent reference to the electronic devices taken from the log – and says he decided to take the devices.
The body camera footage underscores how little is known about the events leading up to the raid — including why Cody appeared to be in close contact with Newell during the searches. The fallout from the raid continues as well — early this week, Marion City Manager Brogan Jones resigned Voters ousted Herbel During the local elections that took place last week.
Bernie Rhodes, a lawyer for The Record, called it “pretty astonishing” that Cody “would admit on camera to concealing evidence” when he asked Newell not to write anything. He said it was also surprising that Cody Newell was informed of the searches as they occurred.
“Cody saying he’s just doing his job is obviously a lie,” said Rhodes, who also represents the star. “When police execute a search warrant, they don’t typically call up the alleged victim and start telling them what they found.”
Meyer, the newspaper’s publisher, said he remains baffled by Cody’s actions, including his call to Noel while driving between searches.
“It’s especially weird that he talks to her so frequently considering Gideon Cody has never talked to me about this,” Meyer said.
He scoffed at Cody’s suggestion that the searches turned up “good evidence.” He noted that officers took irrelevant documents, such as a former job applicant’s story about haunted houses, but left documents the newspaper pulled from Newell’s driving record on his desk.
“The thing they deemed illegal, wasn’t illegal, and they never took it,” he said.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which took over the investigation into Cody shortly after the searches, said their investigation remains ongoing and did not answer questions about whether they were investigating allegations against newspaper employees or against Cody himself.
register I mentioned last month Body camera footage showed Newell in contact with Cody on the day of the searches. Newell too KSHB said In September, she deleted text messages between her and Cody at his request.
Reached by The Star on Thursday, Newell declined to comment. Cody did not respond to a request for comment.
The town of Marion, with a population of less than 2,000 people, was thrust into the national spotlight in August after searches led by Cody. He claimed he was looking into allegations that newspaper staff had illegally accessed Newell’s driving records, and in the days following the searches… Preparing statements in criminal charges Against newspaper employees and Herbel. The Kansas Department of Revenue, which maintains a database of records, said the search led to public information.
But the warrants were withdrawn by Marion County Attorney Joel Ince, who said there was not enough evidence.
Before the searches in August, the Marion County Register was looking into Cody’s background. When Cody left for Marion earlier this year, The Star reported after research He was facing demotion to the Kansas City Police Department for inappropriate remarks made to a lower-ranking officer.
Cody He resigned last month, weeks after Deb Grover, a former Marion County reporter, filed a federal lawsuit against him. In his response to Grover’s lawsuit, Cody called the FBI’s continued involvement in the investigation a “conflict of interest.”
Public records show that the KBI, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas Department of Revenue were all in contact with Cody prior to the searches. The Sheriff’s Office appeared to help Cody draft the search warrant applications that were used to justify the raids.
The city manager resigns
During Monday’s City Council meeting, Herbal accused Jones, the city manager, of lying about forwarding an email about Newell she sent him a week before the raids. Herpel said she had lost confidence in Jones, saying she believed his decision to send that email, which was cited in the affidavit for the search of Herpel’s home, marked the beginning of the chain of events that led to the raids.
“Now, I would like to hear your answer: Why did you send this email to the Council?” Herbel asked.
Outgoing Mayor David Mayfield jumped in, saying he asked Jones to forward the email. Herbal then asked Jones why he apparently told her he didn’t share the email; Jones said he didn’t say that, but he didn’t tell anyone but the council.
“You’re a liar,” Herbel said, pointing her finger at Jones, who responded that he had the “direct quote” on his phone.
On Tuesday morning, Jones provided 60 days’ notice of his resignation in a letter he sent to council members. He wrote that he would ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities before his final day on January 12.
“Thank you again for the support, but it’s time for me to do what’s best for myself and my family,” Jones wrote.
The Star’s Katie Bernard and The Wichita Eagle’s Jaime Green contributed reporting