May 29, 2024

Ruth Herbel moved to Marion, Kansas, as a young woman and has lived there for over 60 years. She raised a family while serving in several state and federal government jobs. But rather than opt for a quiet retirement, Ruth kept working to make her hometown a better place. She was elected to the city council in 2019.

Ruth’s focus on fighting what she saw as corruption brought her into opposition with Marion’s mayor, David Mayfield, and his allies, who tried at least four times to have Ruth removed from office.

The mayor and police chief saw an opportunity to punish Ruth with a bogus investigation. The police showed up at Ruth’s door, traumatizing her husband, who suffers from dementia. They seized her cell phone, which was her only phone and had all her family and medical contacts on it. After an outcry, the warrants were withdrawn and no charges were ever filed.

The retaliation Ruth faced for her political opposition is a grave violation of the First Amendment. Ruth is suing with the Institute for Justice to hold the mayor, the police chief, and the city accountable. Her lawsuit is about sending a clear message that government officials cannot use criminal investigations to silence their critics and protect their friends.

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