Marion city administrator resigns as police raid fallout continues
MARION, Kan. (KWCH) - Three months after police raids on homes and a newspaper office, the City of Marion needs to fill another leadership position. Last month, Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody resigned. Friday, Marion City Administrator Brogan Jones announced that he submitted his resignation this week and that his last day working for the city will be in early January.
Earlier this week, outgoing Marion City Council member Ruth Herbel blamed Jones for the August raids of the newspaper office, its owner’s home, and Herbel’s home. Herbel also will be stepping down in January after losing her reelection bid in the Nov. 7 general election. Herbel confronted Jones during the meeting for what she said was sharing an email she sent in August that included local restaurant owner Kari Newell’s driving record that detailed a DUI. Herbel said that email wasn’t to be shared.
“I’d like to hear your answer. Why did you forward this email to the council,” Herbel asked Jones.
“I’ll answer that. I told him to,” Marion Mayor David Mayfield interjected.
Herbel then questioned Jones, saying he told her he hadn’t shared the email.
“I didn’t tell you that. I’ve told you I told nobody but council,” Jones responded. “That is my direct quote.”
To that, Herbel called the city administrator “a liar.”
The email at the center of the back-and-forth was part of the justification Cody used in the application for the three search warrants, saying Newell’s driving record was illegally obtained, even though the state database used to get the information is public information that was legally accessed.
During the Aug. 11 raid, Cody’s body camera video shows him on the phone with Newell after leaving the Marion County Record newspaper office and Herbel’s home. During those searches, Marion police officers took numerous electronics.
Deb Gruver, a reporter with the Marion County Record, is suing the now-former Marion police chief, the first legal action taken in the case.
The lawsuit accuses Cody of violating Gruver’s First and Fourth Amendment rights and seeks more than $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit states that Chief Cody seized her cell phone on the day of the raid. However, his application for the search warrant did not mention Gruver or the phone as evidence of a crime. Gruver is calling for a jury trial.
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