The threats were specifically made against the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, according to police. The first call came in at about 6:40 p.m. from a man who mentioned “getting justice for Steven,” the police department said, in what officials say was a reference to Steven Avery.
His story is at the center of “Making a Murderer,” the 10-episode Netflix documentary that premiered in December. While it is unknown how popular the Netflix show is because the company does not release viewership numbers, the series has left the lakefront city feeling bombarded as Avery’s case has become widely discussed across social media. On Reddit and elsewhere, viewers of the series have dissected the case and offered their own theories.
A Change.org petition calling for Avery to be pardoned has more than 493,000 supporters, while a petition to the White House had more than 125,000 supporters. The White House released a statement saying that President Obama can only pardon people who have committed federal crimes, not state crimes, so he cannot get involved. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), meanwhile, has previously said he would not grant any pardons, and his office said he wouldn’t make an exception in this case.
On the city of Manitowoc’s Facebook page, a posting about the armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver last month drew a comment saying the city would likely file charges against the imprisoned Avery in this case as well. Another posting about a concert coming to the area prompted the comment, “I hope they don’t get framed for any murder or rape.”
Police say that during the first threat Wednesday night, the man who referred to Avery also claimed there were bombs in the sheriff’s office as well as in a car in the parking lot. Sheriff’s deputies and other police officers searched the area and brought in a bomb-sniffing dog, but nothing was found in the area.
At about 9 p.m., officials said they issued an all clear, but about 20 minutes later a “second very similar call” again came in to police. Again, police officers came to the scene, but nothing suspicious was found.
State investigators and police in Manitowoc are working to figure out who made the call, they said.
“Manitowoc Police take these types of threats very seriously not only the safety of employees of the agencies involved, but also for the safety of the citizens of Manitowoc and the inmates currently incarcerated in the Manitowoc County jail,” the city’s police department said in the statement.
This story has been updated.