On Friday morning, six Michigan state employees were criminally charged in court for their involvement in the Flint water crisis that began in April of 2014, according to the Detroit Free Press. The water became contaminated when the city switched from a treated water supply from Detroit to raw water from the Flint River, which was treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant. By failing to add the appropriate chemicals to the water, lead leaked into the water and into Flint resident’s homes, contaminating drinking water.
The accused include Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employees Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller and Robert Scott, as well as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality workers Liane Shekter-Smith, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook, according to testimony given in Flint’s district court Friday morning.
According to reports, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette discussed the charges at 11:30 a.m. EST with Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood during a news conferences at University of Michigan, Flint.
Schuette told reporters Friday:
‘Some people failed to act, others minimized harm done and arrogantly chose to ignore data, some intentionally altered figures … and covered up significant health risks.’
Shekter-Smith was fired from MDEQ over the scandal. According to her attorney, Brian Morley, the charges came as a surprise:
‘I’m really surprised to see criminal charges. I don’t see how this gets to criminal conduct. Lawsuits, I can understand.’
Maintaining his client’s innocence, he told Detroit Free Press:
‘[I] would be very surprised if it ever turns out that Ms. Shekter Smith did anything wrong.’
Back in April of this year, Schuette announced felony charges against two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and one City of Flint official. He also promised further investigations and more charges to follow.
Flint employee Mike Glasgow pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges and is cooperating with the investigation. Two DEQ employees, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, are currently awaiting preliminary examinations.
According to the Detroit Free Press:
‘Glasgow admitted to manipulating the data by removing the two (2) results from his report and falsely stating the source of the test samples. He admitted that the manipulation resulted in lowering the reported lead levels.’
For more information, watch the clip below from the press conference at the University of Michigan, via YouTube/The Associated Press: