All Charges Dropped Against Officials In Flint Water Crisis—Residents Allege Corruption In Case

The residents of Flint, Michigan, are calling for answers once again, after prosecutors chose to drop all criminal charges against 8 people in the case of the city’s massive water crisis. 
It has been 5 years since the city was launched into the national spotlight, after it was revealed that more than 100,000 residents had been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water.
Despite promises to hold state and city officials accountable for their roles in the crisis, prosecutors are now scrambling to explain why they dropped all criminal charges in the case, during a meeting on Friday, where they say they will address the dismissals, provide updates on the team’s investigative efforts and answer any questions the residents may have.
The official death toll stands at 12 people who died from Legionnaire’s disease after they were exposed to Flint’s contaminated water. While investigations have warned that the actual death toll is likely much higher than what health officials have recognized, the dismissal of criminal charges has angered many. Local activist Lee Gaddies, from Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, told The Big Picture’s Holland Cooke that he is questioning why no one has been held accountable for those deaths.
If I went to Flint, and I poisoned one well, I would be in jail for murder. But obviously you can be the governor and poison a whole city and not be held accountable,” Gaddies said. “And that’s what I see here. I see people who are in high places, people who are wealthy, people who are government officials, that were responsible for the well-being of those residents—those residents that were extremely vulnerable—in the city of Flint, not being held accountable.
There have also been accusations of corruption in the way the case was handled from the beginning. Jennifer Kurland, the communications director for Michigan’s Green Party, told The Big Picture that instead of appointing a special prosecutor, the attorney general chose to pursue an option that was a clear conflict of interest.
So having a special prosecutor, I think, if really important. What they’ve done is appointed Kym Worthy, who is the Wayne County prosecutor. And that immediately gives her a conflict of interest. The reason being is that there are ties to what happened in Flint to Detroit’s bankruptcy and what is going on with the emergency manager at the same time,” Kurland said.
Another local activist, Melissa Mays, noted that by dropping the criminal charges in this case, it shows one more example of the local government making decisions for the residents without their consent—which was how the water crisis began.
When you’re living in the middle of a crisis, you still can’t safely use your water, people are still getting sick and dying around you,” Mays said. “And then what little scrap of hope you have, someone just yanked away just because. And they don’t feel the need to tell you about it in advance. It’s a little hard to swallow, like our water.”
While prosecutors in Flint have promised that more charges could be filed after a complete investigation, the latest developments have discouraged many residents who still do not have access to clean water.

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Rachel Blevins is a journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

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