Prosecutors recently dropped charges against state and local officials once facing accusations of neglect in the ongoing Flint water contamination health crisis, causing skepticism among city residents anxious for justice and cleaner water.
Flint’s water crisis began five years ago in 2014 when the drinking water was transferred from Detroit’s municipal water system to the Flint River. Officials did not implement corrosion controls, giving way for lead to filter through city pipelines, and as a result many citizens have faced health issues or death because of lead poisoning. Citizens were informed by many health organizations that the water, while unsafe, was still within the limits of possible consumption.
Trust in the government continues to dwindle in the already suspicious and weary citizens as more than three years after the first charges were filed in 2016, out of 15 state and local officials indicted, eight who were awaiting trial have now had their cases dropped. The remaining seven had already taken plea deals and were not affected.
However, government officials hope to remedy this distrust as a newly appointed attorney general of Michigan, Democrat Dana Nessel, along with a new team of prosecutors, have vowed to reexamine the evidence, citing concerns for earlier shortcutting in the investigation.
“Upon assuming responsibility of this case, our team of career prosecutors and investigations had immediate and grave concerns over the investigative approach and legal theories,” noted the two new lead prosecutors Fadwa Hammoud and Kym Worthy in an interview with the New York Times.
The two decided to drop the charges against the officials, stating that previous charges against them are not excluded from this case, and that new charges may possibly be filed.
Nessel, in joining the prosecutors’ efforts to lodge a new investigation, reassured citizens that the case remains open.
Compiled by Olivia Boyd, WI Intern