Three officials in charge of the maintenance of water in Flint, Michigan, have been charged with felony and misdemeanor as part of a criminal investigation about lead-contaminated water that has affected more than 100,000 citizens in the city.
During 18 months, people used the Flint River for tap water, while a new tubing was being built. However, the water was untreated to control corrosion. As a consequence, adults and children from the city consumed lead-contaminated water. The latter generated a major crisis and President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city.
The first criminal charges were issued against Mike Glasgow, utilities administrator at the city of Flint, Mike Prysby, water engineer at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Stephen Busch, water supervisor at the same department.
“This is a road back to restoring faith and confidence in all Michigan families in their government. These charges are only the beginning and there will be more to come. That I can guarantee you,” state Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday in a press conference, according to The Washington Post.
Glasgow is charged with tampering with evidence and willful neglect of duty, said CNN on Thursday. He could face up to four years in prison, however, he did not attend the court on Wednesday.
A theory suggests that Michigan officials could have changed sample data, to show lower levels of lead in the water of Flint, according to emails issued by investigators from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who requested a Freedom of Information Act, said CNN.
On the other hand, Busch is facing charges for several felonies and two misdemeanor violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, said CNN. On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty and paid $10,000 for each count, before being released. The same occurred to Prysby, who faces the same charges, but was released after paying.
The Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder has not been charged “yet”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has not been charged. Nonetheless, many residents believe he should face charges. Filmmaker and writer Michael Moore created a petition last year to arrest the governor, since that moment it has collected nearly 620,000 signatures.
He said on Wednesday that “we will not stop” until Snyder is arrested and removed from his charge, arguing that children in the city have drank lead-contaminated water and are now “damaged for life”.
Considerable levels of lead in tap water can damage health, causing an elevated blood lead level, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can affect the neurobehavioral development of infants and children, with consequences that persist even during the second decade of life, said the CDC.
Source: The Washington Post