Man allegedly threatens to kill and kidnap Wichita Mayor, over mask mandate

Amanda Haye, Staff Reporter

On Friday, October 16, 2020, Meredith Dowty, 59, was arrested after making a threat against the Wichita mayor Brandon Whipple in response to the Kansas City mask mandate policy aimed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The threats took a sharp turn on Friday. A ‘very descriptive plan of execution’ included text messages captured by police, which detail slitting the throat of the mayor, hanging him and then turning him into fertilizer, Whipple told the New York Times.

“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.

Police say Dowty was upset with some of the city’s coronavirus prevention ordinances.

Dowty was angry that he wasn’t able to see his mother because of COVID restrictions on elderly homes. 

He is being held in the county jail of Sedgwick. His bond is set at $50,000. Whether Dowty had found an attorney was not immediately apparent. 

Dowty is a retired firefighter. He is a very known person because he saved the life of a police officer who was shot in 2008 and later was rewarded by the Wichita City Council. He also works locally as a musician, that goes by the name of “Cathead,” according Joe Stumpe, a musician and former journalist at the newspaper. 

Back in July Whipple passed a mask mandate, which frustrated over 100 people in Kansas. Those angry people showed up for a protest at a city counseling meeting in Wichita.

There were almost 70,000 coronavirus cases and 859 deaths in Kansas City according to county data. Whipple’s mask mandate was in response to urging people to wear their mask to reduce distribution of the coronavirus. 

This month federal and state authorities announced that they had disrupted an alleged attempt by 14 individuals to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) of Michigan. In connection with a domestic terrorism plot, the FBI and Michigan law enforcement have charged the 14 individuals.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, also a Democrat, was reportedly threatened by the same party.

Mayor Whipple tweeted “violence is never a way to settle disagreements.”  

“I think this keeps happening because President Trump is not taking any actions of these kidnappings happening to these governors. With him not speaking up about these actions is what makes people think kidnapping these governors ok whether their democrat or republican,” said Shravani Daptardar, a student reporter at NHS.