KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Meyer, owner of Marion County Record, stood his ground as he told police who showed up at his door with a search warrant to stand down due to free press laws that protect journalists from having their homes and newsroom's raided by police.
"I'm gong to object to this on the grounds of the Kansas shield law," Meyer said.
Police walked into Meyer's home anyway.
"Wer'e local law enforcement here with a search warrant to take a look at your digital devices and if you don't provide them we’re here to take them," a Marion, Kansas, police officer said.
Under the Kansas Shield Law, police who want to obtain news gathering items should first issue a subpoena, which allows journalists to provide or decline the materials and to have their day in court.
As police walked in behind Meyer who appeared disheveled and in search of his phone, Meyer urged police to pause.
"I'm going to ask that you suspend until I consult an attorney," Meyer said.
But, police proceeded.
"We’re not waiting," the officer who served the warrant said.
"You’re going to get sued back against a false search, you understand that?" Meyer said in pushing back.
The police officer who served the warrant said he was merely doing a job by serving a warrant the judge signed off on.
"I understand you’re not the people involved in it, however you're in big deep shit right now, you understand that?" Meyer said.
The newly released body camera footage shows, in detail, what occurred inside the Marion Record publisher's home.
Joan Meyer, co-publisher of the newspaper, can be seen sitting calmly at the start of the search.
Meyer tells the police officer that he and his staff were looking into Gideon Cody, the former police chief, who sought the warrants.
"Do you understand that Officer Cody who filled this out, that we have a whole bunch of damaging information about him that we have not published?" Meyer said. "He's aware of this and this is retaliation."
Meyers complies and hands over his cellphone.
"Please note in your return of the search warrant that I have objected to this under ground of the shield law," Meyer said. "That it is illegal to seize items doing work as a journalist—that's what this is about and you are violating state law."
Meyer takes a quick swipe at the Magistrate Judge Laura Viar, who legal experts say did not take press protection laws into account before she signed Cody's warrants.
"Laura Viar probably doesn’t understand this," Meyer said. "My computer —you're removing my ability to work."
The police officer who served the warrant responds, "That's something you'll have to talk to the chief about or Judge Viar."
Police tell Meyer, "You understand you're not contained here right?"
Meyer responds, "You understand that the city of Marion is going to be paying about $1 million dollars out of this," Meyer said. "You understand that? This is illegal. What you're doing is illegal."
Meyer goes on to say, "You're not required to execute illegal orders and can be personally liable for executing illegal orders. You're going to be on national news tonight."
Meyer then makes a phone call and says, "Tell them the newspaper offices are being raided by police in Marion, Kansas- they’ll send a crew."
The body camera footage gives new insight into what led happened in the moments before Joan Meyer started yelling at police to get out of her home, which was previously reported through surveillance footage.
About 14 minutes into the raid, Joan Meyer starts to become agitated.
"Oh, my God," Joan Meyer said. "I want you to sue the hell out of them."
Eric Meyer responds, "We're going to."
Joan Meyer later calls police assholes and demands they leave her home.