Criminal Charges Filed In Flint Water Crisis

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.
Update: Natasha Henderson, a former Flint, MI, city administrator, filed a lawsuit Monday. The suit claims Flint's mayor, Karen Weaver, redirected money intended to help the water crisis to her own account, rather than sending it to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint's official fund. Henderson alleges that she was fired after she asked the city attorney to investigate the claims in February. She claims the funds were redirected to the "Karenabout Flint" website, which isn't registered as a political action committee in state records, Michigan Live reports. Henderson seeks "unpaid wages, [and] compensatory and punitive damages" from the city, according to Michigan Live.

This story was originally published on April 20, 2016.

Charges have been filed against three officials involved in the Flint water crisis, which exposed many residents of Flint, MI, to lead-contaminated water.

The Detroit Free Press reported on Wednesday morning that criminal charges had been filed against two officials in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Mike Prysby and Stephen Busch, as well as city official Mike Glasgow, Flint's laboratory and water quality supervisor.

The charges are related to the processes used to test homes for lead contamination, which prosecutors are alleging produced artificially low readings. Officials say that the city incorrectly documented tests from low-risk homes with low lead readings as belonging to higher-risk homes, and in fact did not test homes with lead pipes which were most at risk for contamination. The charges allege that Glasgow signed a document falsely claiming that the homes where the city tested tap water all had lead service lines.

Though the lead-contaminated water crisis began in 2014, it only came to national attention in December 2015, when Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency. A few weeks later, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in the county, activating the National Guard to help water distribution efforts. Official response to the situation came under criticism, with allegations indicating the crisis was initially ignored due to Flint’s majority Black population. Snyder has accused critics, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, of politicising the crisis for personal gain.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is expected to elaborate on the charges on Wednesday afternoon, according to The Detroit Free Press. More charges are likely to be filed as the investigation continues.

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