Woman tweets that Howell should be first to burn; community responds

In the wake of protests, looting and the burning of buildings taking place across the country, a woman wrote on Twitter that “the first city to burn in Michigan should be howell.”

Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy said they’re aware of the threat and are investigating, but that it doesn’t appear to be credible.

The tweet came from Twitter user @WowDamia. Her Twitter feed was publicly viewable until late yesterday, and now it’s locked down. But many of her tweets were captured and shared all over social media before she took them down. Her Twitter profile and picture match the social media profiles of a woman named Damia Morse, who works for the State of Michigan as a forensic psychiatrist.

The Livingston Post left messages for her on Facebook and LinkedIn, and we have not yet received a response. We also attempted to reach her on Twitter, but our account was blocked by her. We’ll update this story with any response she provides.

Her original tweet:

There have been protests across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis. Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder in the case.

The tweet is apparently in reference to Howell’s longstanding (and unwarranted) reputation as the Ku Klux Klan capital of Michigan. When someone accused her of wanting to kill all white people, she responded with this:

This is Sheriff Murphy’s response, which was posted on Facebook:

On Behalf of all Livingston County Law Enforcement

First of all, we would like to thank our citizens for bringing to our attention the recent social media chatter about “burning down Howell.” We are in the process of doing threat assessments on these posts.

At the time of this release, it appears none are credible; but we continue to investigate. 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 are second to none and no one wants to jeopardize that.

The tweet from @WowDamia drew a fiery response, both from people who supported her tweet and those who vigorously opposed it. Among those responding was former Livingston County Republican Party chairman Dan Wholihan, who wrote this:

Other responses:

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.