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Wichita mayor threatened over mask mandate, police say

Brandon Whipple told the local newspaper the man threatened to "kidnap me and slash my throat."

A 59-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly threatening the mayor of Wichita, Kansas, over the city's mask mandate, authorities said.

Meredith Dowty, of Wichita, was booked Friday on suspicion of making a criminal threat involving Mayor Brandon Whipple, police said.

The mayor told the Wichita Eagle that another city official showed him text messages from the man, asking about his address and threatening to "kidnap me and slash my throat."

The suspect was allegedly angry over the mayor's pandemic mask mandate and cited "masks and tyranny," Whipple told the Eagle.

"The investigation is ongoing, and it will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office," the Wichita Police Department said in a statement.

"Violence is never a way to settle disagreements," the mayor tweeted Friday. "We're always stronger together as a City even when times are at their toughest."

NBC News was unable to locate a lawyer for Dowty. The public defender's office did not immediately respond.

Earlier this month, 13 men were arrested in an alleged foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, over her restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.