Michigan Attorney General: “No one is above the law, not on my watch.”
The #FlintWaterCrisis, which we have been following closely, has formally become a criminal case.
Three government employees are now facing serious charges for their alleged involvement in perpetuating conditions that led to the elevated levels of lead in the public water supply.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District Engineer Michael Prysby was arraigned Wednesday afternoon on six charges stemming from his role in Flint’s water becoming contaminated with toxic lead.
Stephen Busch, DEQ’s Office of Drinking Water’s Lansing and Jackson district supervisor, was arraigned on a five charges.
Michael Glasgow, Flint’s utilities administrator, faces two charges but did not appear voluntarily in court for arraignment.
The charges, a mixture of felonies and misdemeanors, stem from an investigation led by Schuette’s office into how Flint’s water system became beset with lead leaching from pipes into tap water — a public health emergency that has roiled Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration.
No word if Susan Hedman, the former director of EPA’s Region 5 (which oversees much of the Midwest including Michigan), will be facing charges. Hedman was blasted by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz during a portion of a congressional hearing on this matter that focused on a memo revealing officials didn’t think “Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for.”
However, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is heading the investigation and he says more charges will be coming. Schuette doesn’t seem particularly impressed with government titles:
Three government employees charged in connection with the Flint water crisis “failed Michigan families,” and the charges against them “are only the beginning” of a lengthy and exhaustive probe, state Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday.
While Flint residents have said they feel the criminality that led to poisonous water being pumped into their homes stems from the top, namely Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, Schuette promised that no one guilty of wrongdoing would escape justice, no matter “how big a shot you are.”
“No one is above the law, not on my watch,” he said.
Specifically, the charges against the three are as follows:
• Glasgow is charged with tampering with evidence, a felony, and willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor. The tampering charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine…
• Busch is charged with misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to tamper with evidence — all felonies — and two misdemeanor violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, one involving treatment, the other involving monitoring…
• Prysby faces the same allegations and charges as Busch, plus an additional felony charge of misconduct in office. That count states he authorized a permit to the Flint Water Treatment Plant knowing it “was deficient in its ability to provide clean and safe drinking water for the citizens.”
Flint residents have strong opinions on which government officials should be charged next:
Laura McIntyre said it would be a “miscarriage of justice” if Gov. Rick Snyder isn’t charged, and she worries that Wednesday’s announcement of charges represented “just two to three people who will take the fall for actions that have included many, many more people. It definitely goes much higher.”
…In addition to Snyder, she would like to see former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley charged for the decisions he made — or precautions he didn’t take — in switching the drinking source.
I will say this for Schuette: He is currently doing the real work of an state Attorney General, instead of conducting a political persecution. Let’s hope it stays that way.
(Featured Image: CNN Video).DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.