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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Mayor Nadine Woodward had a stalker with a criminal history during her years in office, court documents say

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward talks about a spate of violent crimes committed by youthful offenders at a news conference April 13 at the Spokane Police Department’s downtown substation while police Chief Craig Meidl listens.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Former Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward was harassed and stalked by a man who threatened to kidnap her throughout her time in office, according to court documents filed last week.

The threats spanned from 2020, when Woodward began her term as mayor, through 2023.

According to the documents, 45-year-old Chesed B. Johnson began emailing Woodward about grievances he had against the Spokane Police Department. It escalated to emails claiming he was outside Woodward’s home, was going to kidnap her, was threatening to destroy her husband’s business, was seeking out her family members’ addresses to “disparage” her and was going to make her “pay.”

Johnson was convicted in 2022 of harassing Woodward, placed on probation and issued a no-contact order while completing mental health treatment. In November last year, court documents say, Johnson approached Woodward at a Christmas tree lighting downtown as she was leaving. He allegedly told her “I’m going to make you listen to me,” and Woodward felt afraid, so she asked a citizen to walk her the rest of the way back to her car and called the police.

When law enforcement went to Johnson’s home to arrest him for violating his release conditions, he slammed the door and refused to come out, records say, but after several hours he was taken into custody without incident.

Documents say he has a history of threatening police, including former police chief Craig Meidl.

“Spokane is gonna get a taste of my military training… Everyone will feel my suffering,” he was quoted as saying in an email to Meidl last year.

In 2022, Johnson was charged with cyber harassment after texting a behavioral health unit sergeant.

This wasn’t the first time – other officers have previously taken their patrol cars home to protect themselves and their families because they felt unsafe from threats. Johnson was sentenced to five months in jail for harassing the officer.

In 2019, Johnson threatened to commit a mass shooting at a Wells Fargo he was fired from for allegedly harassing a female employee there.

Johnson pleaded guilty to felony harassment for the threat and was sentenced to 131 days in jail. He remains in jail for violating his release conditions surrounding Woodward’s harassment and is being held on a $210,000 bond.

Woodward was unable to be reached for comment Monday.