State employee suspended 10 days for suggesting Howell should be 'first to burn'

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

A state employee will serve a 10-day unpaid suspension after she wrote a viral tweet in late May that appeared to encourage people to burn Howell a few days before a police brutality protest.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began investigating the employee shortly after she wrote from a since-deleted Twitter account called @WowDamia that "the first city to burn in michigan should be Howell, all in favor say I."

The employee's tweet and later screenshots of the post were widely shared ahead of a June 4 peaceful protect in Howell to honor George Floyd, an African American man who died during an arrest by Minneapolis police in late May. 

The employee, said DHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin, has "expressed remorse for their actions and will receive additional training upon return to work.”

The department will not disclose the identity of the employee.

The employee still is being investigated by the Howell Police Department after Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailiencourt sent the case back to the department for further investigation. 

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon Robert Miles lived in Cohoctah Township, just north of Howell, where he held KKK rallies and burned crosses. He died in 1992.