A retired firefighter who is charged with threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor of Wichita because he was upset about the city’s mask ordinance had been texting an acquaintance on the city council for more than a month before his arrest, newly released court records show.
The documents were released in the case against 59-year-old Meredith Dowty, who was charged last week three counts of criminal threat.
They say Wichita City Council member James Clendenin started receiving texts from Dowty in early September, when Dowty wrote that he wanted to know where the mayor eats, sleeps, and buys food and gas, The Wichita Eagle reports.
Clendenin, who voted against the mask mandate, said Dowty might have felt they were “kindred spirits” because of his stance.
Clendenin said he didn’t feel the conversation went beyond “venting” until October 16, when Dowty allegedly wrote that the “Mayor and all those who bankrupt us” are “viable targets for elimination.”
That’s when he reported the messages to police.
Dowty said Clendenin is his friend, and that he didn’t mean the texts as threats, court document say.