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Wichita Police Arrest Man After Threats Are Made Against The Mayor, Reportedly Over Mask Orders

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The Wichita City Council passed a law that said people could be ticketed if they didn't wear a mask in public.

Mayor Brandon Whipple
Mayor Brandon Whipple

Wichita Police said they have arrested a man who made threatening statements directed at Mayor Brandon Whipple.

Police said Meredith Dowty was arrested on suspicion of criminal threat. Records show Dowty, 59, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail about 6 p.m. Friday.

Police said they began an investigation after they were contacted about threats made against Whipple.

Whipple told The Wichita Eagle that a person unhappy over the city’s mask mandate wrote in a series of texts that he was going to “kidnap me and slash my throat.”

The Wichita City Council, led by Whipple, passed an ordinance in July that required people to wear a mask or face covering when out in public. People who ignored the law could be ticketed.

The move came after Sedgwick County commissioners stopped short of a strict mandate and recommended that people wear a mask.

The county has since passed a stronger mandate, and the city’s mask ordinance is set to expire Wednesday.

People who opposed the mask order have spoken at City Council and County Commission meetings to voice their displeasure.

It’s at least the second incident where an elected official who supported a mask mandate has been threatened.

Several men in Michigan are under arrest after being accused in a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, storm the Capitol in Lansing and start a civil war. They planned to put her on trial and then execute her.

Whitmer, a Democrat, put the state under a strict lockdown to fight the coronavirus. She has sparred with President Donald Trump, who thinks her orders are an example of government overreach.

Whipple also is a Democrat, although the Wichita mayor’s position is non-partisan.

Wichita Police say the investigation continues. Detectives will present their findings to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

Copyright 2020 KMUW | NPR for Wichita. To see more, visit .

Tom is the Director of News and Public Affairs. He joins KMUW after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle in a variety of reporting and editing roles.
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