Flint water prosecutors committed to 'professional prosecution' of anyone responsible

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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(4/21/2020) - Ten months ago, a bombshell announcement that all criminal charges in the Flint Water investigation dropped.

The announcement came shortly after the attorney general's new Flint water investigative team took over.

"A lot of people got sick and a lot of people died from it," one Flint resident said. "And, somebody needs to be held accountable for it. You know, stop trying to push the blame on everybody else and take responsibility."

People who live in Flint are still waiting for someone to be held accountable for the man-made disaster that poisoned their city.

Six years ago, under an emergency manager appointed by the state, the city switched its drinking water source to the Flint River. The contaminated water forever changed lives in Flint.

Countless children are now beginning to show the effects of lead poisoning. Multiple people died of Legionnaires’ disease and the community’s trust in their government is broken.

The Flint water investigation team was formed in January 2016 to bring criminal charges against those responsible. Over three years, the team brought more than 50 criminal charges against 15 state and city officials.

When Attorney General Dana Nessel took office in 2019, lead Special Prosecutor Todd Flood was let go. Months later, the new leads Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud announced they dropped all charges.

The two said the charges could be picked back up, pending new evidence and further investigation.

Ten months later, Worthy and Hammoud issued a statement saying they're on track and the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic will not prevent them from doing their job.

"We committed to professional prosecution of anyone criminally responsible for this man-made crisis and the resulting death, injury and trauma experienced by the people of Flint," the statement says.

They also clarified the six-year anniversary of the water source switch this Saturday is "not the deadline to bring charges."

In Michigan, misdemeanor charges can be brought up to six years after a crime is committed. It's important to note, much of the alleged cover-up happened after the water source switch.

Felony charges, like the involuntary manslaughter charges against two former top state health officials, have a statute of limitations of six to 10 years.

"If it reaches high enough up to get Rick Snyder, so be it," Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. "But, I think they're rounding around the targets which they want to go after and making sure they're thorough enough to do so. Once again, I have confidence in their ability to do so."