The Michigan attorney has filed a total of 13 felony charges and five misdemeanor charges against two state officials and one city official as a result of their actions in the Flint water crisis.
The sentences could range from four to five years in prison with fines for each ranging from £2,800 to £7,000. Flint’s water crisis arose when the source of the city’s water was switched, leading to corrosion in water pipes and thousands of people exposed to high levels of lead in water.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District 8 water supervisor Stephen Busch is charged with three felonies and two misdemeanour. His colleague from the same department, water engineer Michael Prysby is charged with four felonies and two misdemeanour. Both of them face charges of misconduct in office, tampering with evidence and treatment violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. City of Flint laboratory and water quality supervisor Michael Glasgow is charged with one felony of tampering with evidence and one misdemeanour of wilful neglect of duty. The three could not be reached for comment, although media reports in the US say Prysby and Busch have pleaded not guilty to the charges, Glasgow is yet to appear in court.
These are the first charges brought in the crisis and have arisen from an on-going investigation.
Attorney General Bill Schuette said: “The justice system in Michigan is not rigged. Anyone that says Michigan has a wink and nod justice system is wrong. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, if you break the law there will be consequences.”
“So many things went so terribly wrong in Flint. I made a decision that I must investigate what went wrong. It is my job as Attorney General to protect the citizens of Michigan. The citizens of Flint deserve that, the citizens of Michigan deserve that. This investigation is ongoing, it is broad, detailed and comprehensive.”
“What happened here in Flint is a tragedy, and we will continue to investigate all information that comes our way. This is not something I take lightly.”
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton added: “We are working closely together on this investigation because the people of Flint deserve nothing less than the truth and we will keep working until we get to the bottom of this.”