By Jon King /

Following protests and confrontations with police across the country over the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis Police custody, social media threats to cause violence in Livingston County appear to be no more than online bluster.

In a press release issued Sunday morning on behalf of all Livingston County law enforcement, Sheriff Mike Murphy thanked “citizens for bringing to our attention the recent social media chatter about “burning down Howell.” Murphy said they were in the process of doing threat assessments on the posts, but that, “it appears none are credible.” The “chatter” in question appears to have begun with a tweet that states, “the first city to burn in michigan should be Howell, all in favor say I”. It received several thousand likes and retweets before the account holder removed it and then later deleted their account. However, it was quickly reposted across Twitter and Facebook with many area residents reacting unfavorably. Some tried to distance the city from its reputation as being unfriendly to people of color, while others openly discussed using firearms to deter anyone from carrying out such a threat.

The nationwide protests began in Minneapolis after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, who was arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Derick Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, despite the fact that he was handcuffed and not resisting. Chauvin has since been charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.

In the message from Sheriff Murphy, he continues, “As your Livingston County Law Enforcement Officials, our goal is, and always has been, the protection and safety of our residents. We know the posts do not represent the mentality of our residents. The police - public relationship and mutual respect we have for each other in this county is second to none and no one wants to jeopardize that. “