Kansas restaurateur at center of unprecedented newspaper raid speaks: “I got 600 or 700 messages saying I have blood on my hands.”

The Kansas restaurateur who was at the center of an unprecedented raid on a local newspaper has broken her silence, insisting that she did not prompt the search and seizure.

The Marion County Registry was raided by the entire police force of five city officers and two sheriff’s deputies on August 11 after Kari Newell, 46, accused one of her reporters of illegally obtaining her records from DUI, which would have resulted in his liquor license being revoked.

The newspaper’s co-owner, Joan Meyer, 98, died after the raid due to stress and shock, said the publisher of the Marion County Record and Meyer’s son, Eric Meyer.

Newell said she has now been the target of vicious hate mail accusing her of killing Joan.

“I probably got 600 or 700 messages saying I have blood on my hands, that I should go to jail for manslaughter, sued for wrongful death, that I killed that poor woman,” Newell told the Kansas City Star.

The Marion County Recorder’s main office, which police raided Aug. 11 after a local restaurant owner complained. AP

But the owner of the local restaurant insists that she did nothing wrong and is being unfairly demonized.

“Absolutely,” she responded when asked if she was angry about being blamed. “I didn’t go in and hold up the newspaper. I did not incite the raid.”

In other threatening messages Newell shared with the Kansas City Star, she was labeled a “devil” and a “fascist.”

A screenshot of security camera footage provided by Eric Meyer shows his mother, Joan Meyer, ordering police officers out of their home while they searched it on August 11, 2023 in Marion, Kansas.A screenshot of security camera footage provided by Eric Meyer shows his mother, Joan Meyer, ordering police officers out of their home while they searched it on August 11, 2023 in Marion, Kansas. Marion County Registry

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But the texts are only a part, affirmed the restaurateur.

Newell told the newspaper that he had to shut down the online reservations and comments section of his restaurant, Chef’s Plate at Parlor 1886, due to vile missives that arrived after he complained about the paper to city council on Aug. 7.

The Marion County Recorder ultimately decided not to report the story and notified police of the situation, believing the documents were released by someone close to Newell’s ex-husband.

Even so, the dispute led to a police raid on the newspaper (and the home of its 98-year-old owner) just days later.

The otherwise healthy elderly woman died after going into cardiac arrest a day after the police stormed in.

Kari NewellKari Newell told the Kansas City Star that she is angry that she is being blamed for the raid and for Meyer’s death. Facebook

The warrant specifically targeted ownership of computers that may have been used to “participate in the identity theft of Kari Newell.”

Eric Meyer, editor and publisher of the Marion County Record, said he believes Newell was used as a scapegoat.

“She’s a pawn,” he told the Kansas City Star. “I think it was a convenient excuse used by other people to attack us. I think she’s a snitch in that sense.”

Joan Meyer, who died about a day after the police raided her home.Joan Meyer, who died about a day after the police raided her home. Her son, Eric, says the stress killed her. Mark Reinstein/Shutterstock

The county attorney later withdrew the warrant, admitting that the police lacked sufficient evidence to conduct the search.

But the Marion Police Department defended its actions, saying federal protections did not cover journalists because they were suspected of criminal activity.

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The Kansas Bureau of Investigation took control of the case earlier this month. No arrests have been made.

An exterior shot of Kari's kitchen.Several city residents said they would no longer frequent Newell’s restaurants, including Kari’s Kitchen (pictured). kari’s kitchen

However, the well may already be poisoned for Newell, who also owns a coffee shop called Kari’s Kitchen in this town of about 2,000.

“After what he’s done, I’m not going to go to his house anymore,” Jack Webb, an 88-year-old man who has lived in Marion for more than five decades, told The Star. “And there are about 100 people who tell me the same thing.”

Lloyd Meir, 77, expressed similar disdain for Newell, as well as the police chief, mayor and other city leaders, The Star said.

A flower arrangement for Joan Meyer in the Marion County Record newspaper earlier this month.A memorial flower arrangement for Joan Meyer in the Marion County Record newspaper earlier this month.ZUMAPRESS.com

“They need to pack up and hit the road,” he told the newspaper.

“It is pathetic what they did to that newspaper. And to [Eric Meyer] and his mother: Damn, they killed her. They need to go to the penitentiary. She needs to go with them.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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