Six Michigan officials criminally charged in Flint water crisis

Henrietta Strickland
June 26, 2017

January 5, 2016: Snyder declares a state of emergency in Flint, the same day federal officials confirm that they are investigating. But the attorneys both told the newspaper that they would contest the charges.

Lyon was also charged with misconduct in office.

An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in prison.

October 2015: Snyder announces that the state will spend $1 million to buy water filters and test water in Flint public schools, and days later calls for Flint to go back to using water from Detroit's system.

In January 2016, the MI health officials released a report to the public about an increase of Legionnaire's disease in Flint. Among those indicted were Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon.

But he said the investigation will continue, even as the emphasis shifts to prosecuting those accused.

Some 12 Flint locals died and 80 people were hospitalized after developing diseases, including lead poisoning and Legionnaires' disease, due to the city's contaminated water. Included in the report is a look at today's and past charges made, as well as a review of the facts and evidence in the case.

April 20, 2016: Two state officials and a local official are charged with evidence tampering and other crimes in the MI attorney general's investigation — the first to be levied in the probe.

Convincing a jury that the officials' failure to disclose the risk of Legionnaires' disease caused a death would be hard, Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning said. Lyon was charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the department, have now been criminally charged.

Schuette said he does not plan to file any charges against Snyder now and that the criminal phase of the case was over. Genesee County Health director Jim Henry suspected Flint water as the source of the Legionnaires' outbreak but was unable to receive support from the state to investigate.

Her attorney, Brian Morley, said he has not seen any court paperwork and could not comment.

Charging documents also allege that professors at Wayne State University were asked by Snyder's office to do research into the Legionnaires' outbreak and a possible link to the water in Flint.

Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality drinking water chief Liane Shekter-Smith; DEQ drinking water official Stephen Busch; and former City of Flint Water Department manager Howard Croft each face involuntary manslaughter charges. But the focus should be on "families of Flint that are still suffering as a result of government failure" and the need to restore citizens' shattered confidence in public agencies, he said. She said, "I've said from the very beginning, anyone who had a part in the man-made water disaster that occurred in the City of Flint needs to be held accountable".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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