Todd Flood, special counsel for the state attorney general’s office, which is investigating the man-made disaster that is the Flint water crisis, has announced that multiple criminal charges are on the table for government officials, including manslaughter.
We’re here to investigate what possible crimes there are, anything to the involuntary manslaughter or death that may have happened to some young person or old person because of this poisoning, to misconduct in office,” he said. “We take this very seriously.
At a round-table on Tuesday, Flood, along with Attorney General Bill Schuette, chief investigator Andrew Arena and deputy chief investigator Ellis Stafford, updated the media on the investigation, which began last month.
There is no telling how long the investigation will take to complete, but the probe will determine if any laws were violated by state or local officials. (Or, at least, it is supposed to.)
According to Flood, “it’s not far-fetched” to envision that involuntary manslaughter charges could be brought if it is determined that “gross negligence” or a “breach of duty” by government officials are connected to a death in Flint.
Although at this point the question for the rest of us isn’t so much IF they are at fault for the disaster in Flint, but rather if they will ever be held responsible, because, well duh.
Nine people have died of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, and emails have shown that state officials knew about the outbreak of the deadly illness as a result of the water supply as early as March of 2015. However, the public wasn’t made aware until just last month.
Although the statement Flood made to the media sounds good on the surface, as usual when it comes to the investigation of government officials, there are serious concerns about the objectivity of the investigation. Critics point out that Flood has made campaign contributions to both Gov. Rick Snyder and Schuette.
Melanie McElroy, executive director of Common Cause Michigan, issued a statement voicing her concerns.
Bill Schuette’s ‘independent investigation’ seems more focused on rewarding campaign contributors with state contracts than getting to the bottom of why Flint’s water was poisoned with lead.
Schuette’s office, which announced the investigation last month, is also representing Snyder and state departments in multiple lawsuits that have been brought by Flint residents who were poisoned by the drinking water they were repeatedly told was safe for human consumption.
Schuette is not part of the team representing Snyder because of his role in the investigation. His office has, seemingly in dedication to the investigation, requested to withdraw as legal counsel for seven Department of Environmental Quality employees, including one who was recently fired because of the crisis in Flint, citing a “potential conflict of interest.”
To try to capture in words the tragedy of what occurred in Flint is almost beyond description,” Schuette said. “My job as attorney general is to enforce the law, and we’re going to determine what laws were violated.
Featured image via YouTube