Ex-Michigan Governor Charged With Willful Neglect of Duty for Flint Water Crisis

Rick Snyder is the first Michigan governor to face charges related to their time in office since the state joined the union in 1837

1/14/2021 5:46:00 AM

Rick Snyder is the first Michigan governor to face charges related to their time in office since the state joined the union in 1837

Rick Snyder’s alleged offense stems back to the 2014 decision to switch Flint’s water source and contaminate the city’s drinking supply with lead.

Snyder, who has been out of office for two years, was Michigan’s governor in 2014 when state-appointed officials switched the water supply for the majority-Black city to the Flint River in order to save costs while a pipeline to Lake Huron was being built. The state, however, failed to treat the water with corrosion inhibitors, which resulted in lead from old pipes leaching into the drinking water. (The charge announced on Wednesday relates to the initial decision to switch the water sources.) Between 6,000 and 12,000 children were exposed to toxic levels of the contaminant, and one dozen people died from an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that prosecutors connected to the crisis. State health officials ignored residents’ complaints that the water smelled bad and tasted off, and told them it was safe to drink; only in 2016 did Snyder declare a state of emergency to help secure clean water for the city’s residents.

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On Tuesday, Snyder, his former health department director Nick Lyon, and former adviser Rich Baird were notified by the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel that indictments were imminent. In 2019, when Nessel took over, her office dropped prior outstanding charges related the crisis, and vowed to investigate further, claiming “all evidence was not pursued” by the prior Republican attorney general.

If convicted, Synder could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. And as David Eggert of the Associated Press notes, this is the first time a Michigan governor or ex-governor has been charged with crimes related to their time in office since the state joined the union in 1837. headtopics.com

Read more: New York Magazine »

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Just heard from LaTricea Adams BM4Flint on Thom_Hartmann that these charges were a misdemeanor and basically just a headline statement. I was aware of it watching the Michael Moore documentary. His sentence should be a few years behind bars. Faces up to A YEAR in jail and $1,000 fine?!?! This is freaking disgraceful.

It’s about time.