Flint Water Crisis Charges Dismissed For 7 Former State Officials


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A Michigan judge dismissed felony charges against seven former state officials in connection with the Flint water crisis on Tuesday, ruling that the indictments were invalid due to a procedural error, according to Reuters

The cases against Eden Wells, Richard Baird, Jarrod Agen, Nancy Peeler, Gerald Ambrose, Nicolas Lyon, and Darnell Earley were dismissed. 

“Simply put, there are no valid charges to remand for preliminary examination,” 7th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly wrote according to CNN. “This Court must dismiss the charges against Defendants,” she added in her ruling. 

As a result of water contamination in 2015, Flint experienced a water crisis. Lead and other toxins were found in drinking water and children experienced mysterious illnesses.

The government of Flint, a majority-Black city, switched its source of drinking water from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014 to cut costs. Lead leached from the pipes due to corrosive river water, poisoning thousands of children and causing a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

The city of Flint, the state, the authorities responsible for monitoring water quality, and city and state workers involved in the decision to switch water sources have been sued more than a dozen times. The water crisis in the city was widely viewed as an example of how environmental problems in the United States have disproportionately impacted communities of color. 

The decision to dismiss the charges against former officials is based on a June ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court that so-called “one-person grand juries” do not have the authority to bring indictments. However, Kelly dismissed the case without prejudice, allowing state prosecutors to refile charges.

“If the People seek future charges against Defendants, they must follow one of the proper charging procedures outlined by the Supreme Court,” she said in her ruling.

A federal judge approved a $626 million partial settlement for contamination victims in November, with most of the funds going to children.


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