6 people arrested during Flint Water Town Hall, could face charges

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FLINT (WJRT) - (04/21/17) - A local attorney is speaking out after six people were hauled off in handcuffs Thursday night as city and state leaders held a town hall meeting over Flint's future water source.

Attorney Trachelle Young believes the situation at the town hall meeting got out of hand.

Six people were arrested during Thursday night's Town Hall on the Flint Water source. They were kept at Flint City Lockup overnight and released Friday.

According to the Flint Police Department, police will request the follow charges: disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer, interfering with police and disruptive behavior. Not everyone arrested is facing all of the above charges. Nothing has been filed with the prosecutor's office yet.

The charges stem from disrupting the town hall meeting, especially the question portion of the town hall, and yelling profanity, refusing to leave when officers asked and some also put their hands on officers/interfered during arrests.

The meeting continued unabated inside the church while the arrests were made outside.

The Town Hall was a chance for Mayor Weaver to share her recommendation that the city of Flint stay with the Great Lakes Water Authority as its primary source of water and get input from residents.

While Mayor Weaver made it very clear she doesn't want to finalize anything without getting public input before meeting with the city council, not many people talked about her recommendation.

Folks we heard from tonight made it clear they're still very concerned about the health impact of the water crisis, and what it will take to lower their water bills.

"We looked at 12 different options and we believe this is the best option--if someone has an option that we missed we want to hear it," said Mayor Weaver.

The Town Hall was billed as an opportunity for residents to weigh in on the Mayor's recommendation that the city continue with the Great Lakes Water Authority. But resident Christina Murphy still worries about the health impacts of showering in city water, especially pregnant women:
"How are we going to protect people when they're in their showers and when they're washing their clothes," she asked.

Bryce Feighner with the MDEQ replied, "Our public health professionals have investigated that and determined that for most folks, that is not a health concern but we always recommend you follow the advice of your physician."

This resident wants to know when the city will address the high rates of water bills:

"As long as we can run a system at that level - 70% of payment - obviously we are all being charged too much."

John Young, a water consultant for Flint replied, "When we improve to 70% everyone else's rates will be better, but look at your neighbor, this is something we're all in together."

That response was met with boos from the crowd.

Finally a resident asks a question pertaining to the Mayor's recommendation:
"My problem here is we keep throwing out numbers, figures, when will we see the actual contract with the numbers so I can look over it."

David Sabuda, Interim Chief Financial Officer for the city replied, "with this deal we anticipate holding the current rate, this is a very good first step, we are going to avoid a significant increase and this is a tremendous first step."

Sabuda also told the audience they will meet with independent experts to build a new rate schedule and as they upgrade infrastructure --they hope to drive rates down.

The Mayor has 30 days to get feedback from Flint residents on her proposed recommendation. There may be another Town Hall scheduled. City officials will then meet with the Flint City Council members to recommend a permanent drinking water source.

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