Nine Michigan state officials, including former government. Rick Snyder was criminally charged on Thursday, with prosecutors “ultimately holding people responsible” for the Flint water crisis.
The 62-year-old Snyder and eight other officers working under him are now facing charges stemming from a water supply switch in 2014 that exposed Flint residents to alarming levels of lead and illness.
Michigan Solicitor General Phadwa Hammod told reporters, “Let me start by saying that the Flint water crisis is not something remnant of the past.”
“At this moment, the people of Flint are suffering from the apparent failure of public officials at all levels of government, who trampled their trust and developed accountability for a very long time.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel hired Hammod and Wayne County prosecutors Kim Worth to investigate the case, ruling out earlier charges brought by her predecessor, Bill Schuette.
Nessel is a Democrat and Schuette, a Republican like Snyder, failed for governor in 2016.
Worth said, “The case has nothing to do with partisanship, what it has to do with human decency, the complete abandonment of the people of Flint, and ultimately to hold people accountable.”
“Pure and simple, this case is about justice, truth, accountability, poison-ridden children, lost lives, shattering families that are still not complete and are simply giving a sorrow about humanity.”
Earlier on Thursday, during a virtual appearance before Genesee County Judge Christopher Odette, Snyder pleaded not guilty to the two misdemeanor Chargers.
Odette set the bond at $ 10,000 and ordered Snyder not to move out of Michigan until at least his next court date, scheduled for Tuesday.
The former two-term governor spoke to the judge from a booth inside the Genesee County Jail, where he wore a mask and sat next to his defense attorney, Brian Lennon.
The five-minute-long outrage was very procedural as Snyder admitted the charges leveled against him and agreed to the terms of his release.
The former Michigan health director, Nick Lyon, was charged with involuntary mensuler in the deaths of nine people who received Legionnaires’ disease. He pleaded not guilty during an appearance in a Ganesi County court on Thursday.
Residents of the majority-black city of Flint have struggled for years to overcome the crisis as they relied on bottled water as their primary source of clean water and the value of their wealth.
Today, tests show that Flint’s water is safe to drink but many residents, skeptical of government officials, still do not trust the city’s water.
In 2014 the Snyder administration diverted flint from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in an effort to cut costs. The move proved disastrous, exposing Flint residents to lead contamination from untreated river water of new supplies.
Michigan agreed to a $ 600 million settlement in August in a class-action lawsuit with Flint residents whose health was affected, establishing a fund from which residents can file for compensation.
This is a developing story, please see here for updates.