Charges filed against Wichita man for threatening mayor over mask mandate

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Charges were filed Tuesday against the 59-year-old Wichita man who was arrested Friday for allegedly threatening to kidnap and kill Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple over the city mask ordinance.

Meredith Dowty was charged with three counts of criminal threats in Sedgwick County Court. It is in relation to a series of texts related to response to coronavirus. His bond has been set at $50,000. Dowty’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 5.

On Monday, Mayor Brandon Whipple told KSN News that he is used to people having a different opinion than him, but he said it has reached a whole new level.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple discusses reopening City of Wichita services during a news conference, May 14, 2020. (KSN Photo)

“It wasn’t just a hey I don’t like the mayor, and I’m going to talk tough. It was more also give me the address so I can execute a plan,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple.

Wichita City Council member James Clendenin released the following statement on Twitter Tuesday: “In response to media reports, On October 16, 2020, I received a series of text messages from an acquaintance containing what I perceived as dangerous and potentially imminent physical threats against a number of people, including the Mayor. Concerned for the safety of everyone in Wichita, I reached out to the Wichita Police Department for their assistance and to share the texts with them. I understand the media’s interest in seeking more information, but as this is now a pending legal matter, I will have no further comment.”

The story has gained national traction because of the latest in a series of threats made against government officials including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Laura Kelly says it’s time to tone down the “the anti-science, anti-mask rhetoric.”

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