Man Arrested For Allegedly Threatening To Kidnap Wichita Mayor Over Mask Mandate


Monday, October 19th 2020, 10:25 am
By: CBS News


WICHITA, Kan. -

A man was arrested for allegedly making a threat against Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple, police said on Friday. Whipple told CBS Wichita affiliate KWCH that the suspect was upset over the Kansas city's mask mandate.

"From my understanding, we have someone who's upset with me over what I think is policies related to stopping the spread of COVID, who reached out to someone else looking for my address with the intent to do harm," Whipple told KWCH.

Wichita police said in a news release that Meredith Dowty, 59, of Wichita, was arrested on a charge of making a criminal threat. 

Whipple told KWCH that from what he gathered in text messages read to him, the suspect was allegedly interested in trying to kidnap him and causing harm with a knife. 

According to the Wichita Eagle, Dowty is a retired firefighter who was honored by the Wichita City Council in 2008 for saving the life of a police officer who was shot. He also performs locally as musician, according to the paper.

Whipple enacted the city's mask ordinance in July. Since then, he has been a target for local anti-mask activists, according to the Wichita Eagle. The paper reported that about 120 people spoke for about seven hours — mainly in opposition to the ordinance — at a city council meeting in September.

First published on October 18, 2020 / 6:05 PM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.