Rev. Jesse Jackson holds rally in Flint, calls city a "crime scene"

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FLINT (WJRT) - (1/17/16) - Nationally-known civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson did not hold back, Sunday, as he spoke to a packed house inside Flint's Heavenly Host Church of the Harvest.

Jackson, a guest speaker at the church service, called Flint's water emergency a 'disaster' and 'crime scene'. He echoed those sentiments during a rally that began inside the church at 1:30 p.m.

Joined by several city and religious leaders, Jackson told the audience $5 million coming from the federal government is not enough. Former mayor and state representative Woodrow Stanley was one of several other speakers. His call for jail-time for those responsible for the water emergency drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Speaking directly to the media afterward, Rev. Jackson said those who live in Flint have been betrayed.

"They've been given poison water and told it was pure and healthy when it was corrosive and sick," he said. "Maybe they should put duct tape around the city because Flint is a crime scene."

Those in attendance say Jackson's visit is significant.

"Jesse Jackson has been involved in the civil rights struggle for all of my life, so for him to recognize that we have an issue, a travesty here in the city of Flint, and to come here to support us is big. It's huge," said Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint).

"He's been doing what he's been doing for a long time, so just his presence today...brings a sense of hope," adds Bishop Neal Roberson, pastor at Heavenly Host Full Gospel Church.

Rev. Jackson says he chose to come to Flint this weekend because Martin Luther King Day is Monday.

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