A 59-year-old Wichita man was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor over the city's order to wear masks in most public places, the mayor told the Kansas City Star.
Wichita police confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Meredith Dowty had been booked Friday evening on suspicion of making a criminal threat against Mayor Brandon Whipple.
"He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman — me and everyone who, something about tyranny," Whipple told the newspaper.
The allegations are similar to what authorities said was a thwarted plot by members of a militant group in Michigan who allegedly plotted to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the state's measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Suspects in the Michigan plot, officials alleged in court documents, called Whitmer a "tyrant" for the state's mask mandate and orders to shut down businesses. Fourteen men were arrested in connection with that plot.
Whipple told the Kansas City Star he was read a series of text messages that were received by another city official asking for his address and making the threats.
"It sounded like the person was very upset about pretty much the mask mandate and he said something about not being able to see his mother because of COVID restrictions on elderly homes," he told the paper.
Dozens of residents in September reportedly showed up to lodge their protest during a city meeting against Whipple's proposed ordinance that requires face coverings in most public settings.
Whipple did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.