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Former mayor calls Gov. Snyder’s Flint water charges ‘a slap on the wrist’

Karen Weaver says Rick Snyder could have warned people and saved lives during the Flint water crisis
Former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:06 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is puzzled by the charges filed against former Gov. Rick Snyder.

She and Snyder often went toe to toe during the recovery from the Flint water crisis. Weaver said she repeatedly asked Snyder for help, but his frequent reply was “get over it.”

On Thursday, Snyder became the first of Michigan’s 49 governor’s in the state’s 184-year history to face criminal charges related to work while in office. Seven top officials in his administration, including two former Flint emergency managers, and a former Flint Department of Public Works director also were charged.

Prosecutors charged Snyder with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty, which could lead to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine if he is convicted. Weaver is furious because she believes he knew and had an opportunity to warn the Flint community and save lives, but instead she said he did nothing.

”That’s the million-dollar question is, how does that disparity get accounted for? How does he get a slap on the wrist and they get the real charges,” Weaver said. “It’s almost like, well you only gonna take the fall for me because I’m not going down. You know, I’m not going down and he didn’t. He didn’t know. He is somewhere a happy man right now.”

Current Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the charges filed Thursday confirm that the Flint water crisis was a failure of government at all levels -- from the governor’s office down to the Flint Department of Public Works. He hopes Thursday’s announcement begins a process of healing and restoring trust in government.

“The Flint community has waited nearly seven years for these steps toward justice,” Neeley said. “I will continue to advocate for our community while praying for justice and healing. Flint is strong and we shall overcome these wrongs that were inflicted upon us.”

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