Six charged criminally in Flint water crisis

Six charged criminally in Flint water crisis
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Six current and former Michigan state officials were charged criminally Friday over their roles in Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) filed the charges Friday morning in Genesee County court against three Department of Health and Human Services employees, two current Department of Environmental Quality employees and one person who had been fired from the environmental department, the Detroit News reported.

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“These individuals concealed the truth,” Schuette said at a Friday news conference. “They were criminally wrong to do so. And the victims, these are real people, who have been lied to by government officials and been treated as if they don’t count.”

The charges follow an April decision by Schuette to charge two state employees and one municipal Flint employee for their roles in the contamination.

The state revealed late last year that due to a switch in Flint’s water source meant to save money, which was initiated by Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) administration, the city’s water pipes had corroded, contaminating the drinking water with lead.

It led leaders and politicians nationally to condemn Snyder, who has taken some responsibility for his role. But he’s also put significant blame on state employees and alleged that they misled and lied to him.

Schuette alleged in court Friday that the Health and Human Services employees being charged worked to bury a report last year that detailed elevated lead levels among Flint residents, the Detroit News said.

The Environmental Quality employees, meanwhile, allegedly misapplied federal water quality standards, and some of them misled the Environmental Protection Agency about the crisis.

— This story was updated at 12:10 p.m.