Flint Water Crisis: Three Officials To Face Criminal Charges

After an exhaustive investigation, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will reportedly announce criminal charges in connection with the Flint Water Crisis on Wednesday morning. According to the Detroit Free Press, three officials will be criminally charged tomorrow morning in connection with their involvement in the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuette, is expected to bring criminal charges against three officials, including misdemeanor and felony charges, but some sources report that Schuette will bring criminal charges against as many as four people – likely city and state officials involved in the Flint water crisis since the beginning.

The criminal investigation, reports The Detroit Free Press, centered on false statements made by Flint city officials when questioned about the city’s early lead testing which was conducted at homes that were not at risk of lead contamination, and as a result, the city received inaccurate measurements of how much lead was present in Flint’s drinking water.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the individuals who will face criminal charges for their roles in the Flint water crisis are connected to the Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Flint, where the Attorney General’s office has focused his investigation – which, the Free Press reports, is still ongoing. It’s likely that the first criminal charges brought against officials in connection with the Flint water crisis, won’t be the last; Schuette’s investigation is still ongoing.

Additionally, sources close to the investigation suggest that more criminal charges could be forthcoming as the investigation gets closer to the who and why of the Flint water crisis – who knew about the lead and failed to report it, and why were they instructed to cover up the contamination. According to the Detroit Free Press, the bulk of the criminal case against the three as yet unnamed individuals was based on e-mails which were previously disclosed to reporters last year when the story first broke.

The Attorney General’s office, following the publicly available information, used the broad investigatory powers of the Michigan Department of Justice to subpoena records which were out of reach of local reporters. According to the Free Press, over two dozen witnesses were interviewed by investigators looking into the Flint water crisis.

According to NBC News, the Flint water crisis criminal charges will be announced just after a lawsuit by three Flint citizens was dismissed from Federal court – the judge ruled that the issue was a state matter. The class action lawsuit sought $150 million in damages on behalf of 31,000 Flint residents who received lead-contaminated water from the city.

The Flint water crisis has caused irreparable harm to the people of Flint, reports NBC News, blood lead levels in affected children may abate over time, but for the most part, once lead is in the body, it circulates and settles in bone tissue where it remains for the duration of an individual’s life. The lead contamination in Flint has caused widespread outrage throughout the U.S., as The Inquisitr reported previously, but until now there have been no criminal charges brought against any of the city and state officials who were not only responsible for causing the crisis – but also for making matters worse by failing to identify the problem before some 100,000 Flint residents were exposed to toxic levels of lead.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is favored to run for Governor during the next election cycle, which would pit Schuette against incumbent Governor Rick Snyder who has become the face of the Flint water crisis after facing withering criticism from the U.S. Congress and the people of Michigan, some of whom have called for Snyder’s resignation.

[Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images]