A Kansas newspaper was raided by cops after leaked DUI intel made its way to the publisher -- and many are calling it a chilling attempt at censorship over freedom of the press.
The Marion County Record was paid a visit Friday by the local authorities ... who were executing a warrant that had been signed by a judge, giving them the green light to confiscate a ton of items -- including computers, phones, hard drives and other data.
The reason law enforcement stormed the place -- not to mention the home of the publisher, Eric Meyer -- is due to a complaint a restaurateur in town filed ... namely, accusing the Record of identity theft/unlawful use of a computer in putting together a piece about her.
It's a complicated backstory -- but, essentially, this woman (Kari Newell) and the newspaper have apparently had some bad blood of late ... and, in the aftermath of that, the Record says it recently obtained a tip about her past, revealing she'd once gotten a DUI and had driven without a license thereafter. This info could've hindered her business prospects.
While investigating the tip and confirming its veracity, the Record's publisher, Meyer, concluded the info was likely coming from Newell's husband ... whom she was in the middle of divorcing. In other words, questionable motives ... so he decided to pass on it altogether.
However, he did more than just that ... he actually alerted cops to the fact that this information had been leaked to them -- although it's unclear why. In any case, it backfired.
It seems Newell became privy to the fact Meyer and co. had fallen into possession of this information, and believed they'd done so illegally ... something the Marion County Record denies. Nonetheless, she went to the cops and filed a complaint ... which escalated into a full search warrant that Marion County District Court Magistrate Judge Laura Viar signed.
The warrant lists a number of objects that law enforcement -- which consisted of just about 7 people total, the entire force in that little town -- were entitled to seize ... and they did. It goes without saying ... journalists far and wide are crying foul, and saying this is an outrage.