First, let me point out that word “Criminal” in the title. That means people could and should go to jail. Hard time. Orange Jumpsuits and Tin Cups on the Bars time. Good. They poisoned nearly 100,000 people, 8,000 of them children under 5 years old, 62,000 of them Minority (to be fair, 38,000 of them were White).
They also stole over $180 Million in property value from Flint home owners (using a very conservative 10% estimate for decline).
Nice guys, eh?
These indictments are on top of 3 already filed in April. One, Mike Glasgow, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and is cooperating with the investigation. He was a City employee. Two employees of the Michigan State Department of Environmental Quality Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby are awaiting preliminary examinations.
A Civil suit has also been filed against Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam and Veolia North America.
The 6 individuals charged today are workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Liane Shekter-Smith; Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook of the DEQ,
Now you may think this thin soup, but prosecutorial practice in cases like these is to scoop up the little fish and turn them against the big ones.
The facts above (except the first 2 ‘graphs) come from a very helpful article in The Detroit Free Press by Robert Allen. The Washington Post has this to say-
Six more Michigan employees charged with misconduct in Flint water crisis
By Lenny Bernstein and Brady Dennis, Washington Post
July 29 at 12:18 PM
“These individuals concealed the truth,” (Michigan Attorney General) Schuette said at a morning news conference. “They were criminally wrong to do so. And the victims, these are real people, who have been lied to by government officials and been treated as if they don’t count.”
The disaster in Flint, a city of about 95,000 people, began in early 2014. For decades, the once-thriving industrial city had used water piped in from Lake Huron, with anti-corrosion chemicals added along the way by Detroit water officials.
Then in April 2014, with the city under the control of an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R), officials switched to Flint River water to save money. But the state’s environmental quality agency failed to ensure that corrosion-control additives were part of the new water supply, which allowed lead and other substances such as iron to leach from aging pipes.
The Health and Human Services employees—Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott and Corrine Miller—all face charges of misconduct in office, conspiring to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty, according to Schuette. They allegedly hid or disregarded test results that showed high lead levels in Flint residents’ blood.
An investigator from Schuette’s office said in court Friday morning that Peeler and Scott, who work in the department’s program to prevent lead poisoning in children, conspired with others “to effectively bury” a report from an epidemiologist that warranted more investigation, according to the Detroit News. Miller, the state’s head epidemiologist, allegedly ordered a department employee to ignore the findings of high lead levels and take no action.
Shekter Smith, the former top drinking water official, and current officials Patrick Cook and Adam Rosenthal were charged with misconduct in office related to federal regulations that limit lead in drinking water. Rosenthal is accused of tampering with evidence to conceal lead levels in water and Cook allegedly forwarded false information to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
I’ll add for those who don’t remember that I have relatives in the Flint area and recently had lunch actually in Flint. The restaurant had no bottled anything, only Iced Tea and Tap Soda (they call it Pop) so I had some Amstel Light which has the great virtue of being bottled in Holland (no, not Holland Michigan though there is such a place, they grow Tulips, the country).