Lawmaker Supports Charges Against State Employee Who Made Threat
June 12, 2020
By Jessica Mathews & Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
A local lawmaker is demanding transparency after a social media threat was made by a state employee about burning down the City of Howell.
Following last month’s killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer, protests in support of Floyd and against police brutality sprung up across the country, including in Livingston County. On Twitter, one tweet gained attention, reading “the first city to burn in michigan should be howell, all in favor say I.” It gained thousands of likes and comments from African Americans and others detailing negative experiences in Howell and the perception that the community is racist.
Despite Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy deeming the threat as non-credible, online reaction was one of outrage, with calls for retribution against the woman. It also helped prompt a gun-rights group to show up at a Howell rally against police brutality based on fears of potential violence. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the person accused of posting the message is a forensic psychiatry employee with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin tells WHMI “An investigation was conducted and has been completed. Disciplinary action is being taken.” Details are not being released at this time.
Howell Police are seeking a charge against the employee of making a terrorist threat. The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office is in the process of determining if there is sufficient evidence of any violation of state criminal laws and if additional investigation is needed.
Meanwhile, Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville released a statement supporting charges against the state employee and asking the MDHHS to publicly detail disciplinary action. Vaupel said this type of rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone, let alone a state employee and he fully supports the efforts of Howell Police in seeking charges against the individual for their remarks. Vaupel said the Howell community deserves answers, including how this state employee ended up in a position of responsibility where they were trusted to help people and he’ll continue to work with the department to get answers.