Three Michigan Officials Charged In Flint Water Crisis

| by Robert Fowler
The Flint River in Flint, MichiganThe Flint River in Flint, Michigan

Charges have been filed against two Michigan environmental officials and the former Flint water administrator for the role they played in the Flint Water Crisis.

Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan announced that more charges will follow and that they could reach the top of state leadership.

On April 20, Schuette held a press conference to announce that three state officials would be charged for failing to prevent the lead poisoning of the Flint water supply and for trying to hide the evidence.

“They failed Michigan families,” Schuette said, according to CNN. “Indeed, they failed us all. I don’t care where you live.”

The three accused individuals are Michael Glasgow, Flint’s utilities administrator, Michael Prysby, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) District Engineer, and Stephen Busch, DEQ Office of Drinking Water’s district supervisor .

After revelations that the residents of Flint had been drinking poisoned water since the Michigan government switched their water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014, Schuette launched a probe manned by 20 attorneys and an investigation was launched to determine culpability, according to The Detroit News.

Special prosecutor Todd Flood confirmed that 2.5 million pages of government emails would be used as evidence of wrongdoing, adding, “Nobody’s off limits either.”

Glasgow has been charged with tampering with evidence and willful neglect of duty as a public servant, a felony and a misdemeanor, respectively. He could face four years in prison.

Busch and Prysby have both been charged with the felonies of office misconduct, tampering with evidence and conspiracy. They also are facing two misdemeanors of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. Prysby has an additional felony count of office misconduct for issuing a permit to the Flint Water Treatment Plant despite knowing it "was deficient in its ability to provide clean and safe drinking water for the citizens."

If convicted of all charges, both Busch and Prysby could each face more than 10 years in prison.

“These charges are only the beginning and there will be more to come, that I can guarantee,” Schuette said.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan issued a statement saying, “The charges filed today raise what happened to a whole new level and we need to take that seriously.”

The governor added that he had not yet been questioned by Schuette’s team, Michigan Live reports.

Flint resident Nakiya Wakes deemed the new charges to be a promising start but added that Snyder needs to be held accountable.

“I won’t rest until the governor is charged,” Wakes said. “It was his person who pushed the change of water supply through and he knew there were problems but did nothing.”

Sources: CNN, The Detroit News, Michigan Live / Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Wikimedia Commons

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