Flint Water Crisis Case ‘Closed’ Without Any Criminal Accountability For Poisoning Black City

Federal State Of Emergency Declared In Flint, Michigan Over Contaminated Water Supply

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The prosecutorial investigation into Michigan’s deadly environmental disaster widely recognized as the Flint Water Crisis is being unceremoniously “closed” without holding anyone criminally responsible for the mass lead poisoning that struck the majority-Black city of Flint.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office on Tuesday announced the latest developments in efforts to get any justice after the state supreme court refused to allow a criminal indictment to move forward against former Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who was in office during the Flint Water Crisis in 2014 and 2015.

MORE: The Cost Of Water Crises: Why Bottled Water Isn’t The Answer

Nessel’s office said the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling effectively ended their case.

“At this time the Court has left us with no option but to consider the Flint Water Prosecutions closed,” the office said in a statement.


It also vowed to release “a full and thorough report to the public in the months to come detailing the efforts and decisions of the State prosecution.”

In 2021, Snyder was formally indicted on two counts of willful neglect of duty in misdemeanor charges. The charges, which carry as much as a year of jail time and a fine of $1,000, made Snyder Michigan’s first governor or former governor to be indicted with crimes stemming from alleged actions while in office.

He and eight other government officials were charged with a total of 42 misdemeanor and felony counts.

Snyder’s indictment came a couple of years after a report found that he was at least partially to blame for the deadly example of environmental racism.

“The governor had adequate legal authority to intervene by demanding more information from agency directors, reorganizing agencies to assure availability of appropriate expertise where needed, ordering state agencies to respond, or ultimately firing ineffective agency heads,” according to a 2018 report from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “But he abjured, either due to ignorance or willful neglect of duty.”

The report definitively stated that Snyder “bears significant legal responsibility.”

Less than a month after the indictment, Snyder’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the charges on a legal technicality. They claimed the charges should have been filed in Lansing where Snyder’s office was located, instead of Genesee County where Flint is located, according to a motion obtained by the Detroit Free Press.

Snyder’s legal team called the technicality “a fatal and incurable flaw.”

In June of last year, the state supreme court threw out the charges against Snyder and others in a ruling that questioned Nessel’s grand jury process. Six months later, a judge upheld that ruling.

Now, nearly a year after that, Nessel’s office is admitting defeat.

On Tuesday, Snyder suggested he was a victim of “political persecutions” and all but rejoiced at the case being closed.

“I wish this dismissal would represent the end of political persecutions in Michigan forever,” Snyder said in a statement shared by the Detroit News. “Unfortunately, the only way to end political persecutions would require electing attorney generals and prosecutors who believe in facts, have a moral compass, and act with civility.”

To be sure, the Flint Water Crisis affected thousands of Black and low-income residents who were contaminated, some of whom contracted lead poisoning and Legionnaires’ disease, resulting in at least 12 deaths. The Flint water crisis remains one of the largest public health crises and environmental justice issues of our time.

This is America.


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