Kansas Gov. Kelly says its time to tone down 'anti-mask rhetoric'

Gov. Laura Kelly
Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 13:43:03-04

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said it's time to tone down the "the anti-science, anti-mask rhetoric," after a retired firefighter who was upset about Wichita's mask ordinance was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor.

"This is serious, and we all need to get on the same page and work together," Kelly said Monday.

Police have said the man could face a charge of criminal threat. He was arrested Friday and prosecutors said he could be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Police have said the suspect sent text messages to a city official threatening the life of Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple because of his role in the passage of a mask mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman," Whipple said.

Kelly said anger over restrictions imposed to protect public health is getting out of hand.

"It's imperative that we turn down the rhetoric — the anti-science, anti-mask rhetoric," Kelly said. "We see what's going on, what it has done here with the mayor of Wichita and elsewhere such as Michigan."

Members of a self-appointed militia group are facing charges accusing them of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI and Michigan law enforcement have charged 14 men in connection with a domestic terrorism plot.