Prosecutors drop charges in Flint water crisis
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/14/19, 11:03 am
Michigan prosecutors dropped criminal charges against eight people in the Flint water crisis but promised to start a fresh investigation after finding new evidence. More than three years ago, authorities began to investigate a scandal that left the entire city’s water system contaminated with lead. Those now free from charges include former state health director Nick Lyon, former Michigan chief medical executive Eden Wells, and two state-appointed emergency managers in Flint. Lyon and Wells were charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the dropped charges mean prosecutors could bring Lyon back to court in the future.
“Justice delayed is not always justice denied,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Michigan State Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, who took over the investigation earlier this year, said they are starting from scratch due to concerns about how previous prosecutors carried out the process. “Upon assuming responsibility of this case, our team of career prosecutors and investigators had immediate and grave concerns about the investigative approach and legal theories,” Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. “Contrary to accepted standards of criminal investigation and prosecution, all available evidence was not pursued.” They also said officials took possession this week of “millions of documents and hundreds of new electronic devices, significantly expanding the scope of our investigation.”
The state’s investigation has tried to pinpoint who is responsible for the failure to treat Flint’s water for corrosive elements, causing lead to leach from old pipes and most likely leading to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed 12 people.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.