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.
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.