Prosecutors dropped all pending criminal charges against officials accused of ignoring signs of a crisis in relation to the Flint Water Crisis on Thursday.
What We Know:
- It has been five years since the city’s water supply was discovered to be tainted with lead after a government official changed the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River. The eight criminal cases dealt with crimes like involuntary manslaughter for failing to notify the public when an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in 2014 and 2015, killing at least 12 people. Prosecutors made it known that those same individuals could be charged again.
- Nick Lyon, who was then the director of the Michigan health department, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Jeff Seipenko, a special agent, told a judge that Lyon was notified of the outbreak in 2015 but did not alert the public until almost a year later, according to NBC News. The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eden Wells was also charged with involuntary manslaughter along with obstruction of justice.
- Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy claim the previous investigators failed to effectively conduct their probe. “We cannot provide the citizens of Flint the investigation they rightly deserve by continuing to build on a flawed foundation,” said Hammoud and Worthy in a joint statement.
- Local residents were in disbelief and overall not happy with the decision. Nayyirah Shariff, a resident and director of the group Flint Rising, called the announcement “a slap in the face to Flint residents.”
Will this recent announcement strain the already fragile relationship between Flint residents and the government?