Social justice groups are complaining that the first criminal indictments do not go far enough in one of the worst drinking-water crises in recent U.S. history.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette at an April 20 press briefing said that, in Flint, a Genessee County 67th District Court filing against two state officials and one city official alleges thousands of local residents were sickened and poisoned as a result of their actions.
But many advocates are criticizing the state’s top legal official for not indicting the governor, Rick Snyder (R). Vien Truong— director of Green for All, a social justice environmental advocacy group—said the three indictments are not enough. “What is happening in Flint is criminal, but the person ultimately responsible is Gov. Rick Snyder, who made the call to poison Flint’s residents for the sake of Michigan’s budget,” he said in a statement.
Schuette noted that the investigation is ongoing and that the filing does not preclude charges at a later date. Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton added, “We are working closely together on this investigation … and we will keep working until we get to the bottom of this.”
Felony and misdemeanor charges were filed against Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby, both Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality officials, and Michael Glasgow, a Flint lab and water-quality supervisor.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (D) in a statement said, “We do not take [these] charges lightly,” noting that Glasgow would be put on administrative leave until more is learned about the legal issues, “keeping in mind that every person is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
The Michigan Senate on April 20 approved a $127-million aid package for Flint. The package includes $25 million to replace lead service lines to homes.