Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday that the head of the state’s health department and four others have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the years-long Flint water crisis.
Nick Lyon, director of Michigan Health and Human Services, “failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint,” state AG Bill Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday.
A press statement from Schuette’s office alleges that Lyon waited a year before alerting the public about the outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of the crisis, an act that led to the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore. He also thwarted an independent researcher from investigating the cause of the outbreak, the statement says.
Lyon was also charged with misconduct in office.
The others now slapped with involuntary manslaughter charges are former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley; former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft; Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith; and Water Supervisor Stephen Busch.
Those four, the Detroit News reports, “had been charged with less-serious crimes during the past year.”
NPR writes: “More than a dozen former state and city officials have been criminally charged in connection with the Flint water crisis,” and thus far, “Lyon and Wells are the highest-ranking state officials to be charged.”
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