Two state and one city official have been charged with a total of 13 felony charges and five misdemeanor charges for their involvement in the Flint water crisis. The news was announced Wednesday by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who stated that the officials “failed Michigan families.”
— Democracy Awakening (@DemAwakening) April 20, 2016
The three being charged are Mike Glasgow, Flint’s laboratory and water quality supervisor; Michael Prysby, an employee with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; and Stephen Busch, former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Lansing district coordinator at the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance.
Mike Glasgow is being charged with a felony count of tampering with evidence on account of him signing a document stating tested houses all had lead service lines when they did not. The charge comes with a potential four years in prison and/or a $5,000 penalty. Glasgow is also charges with willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor that has a potential sentence of one year and/or $1,000.
Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch are both charged with felony counts of misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, and tampering with evidence as well as two misdemeanor charges for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. Prysby faces another felony charge of misconduct in office due to his authorization of a permit to the Flint Water Treatment Plant knowing it “was deficient in its ability to provide clean and safe drinking water for the citizens.” This charges carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Busch is being accused of tampering with the same report Glasgow signed, failing to use corrosion control treatment or refusing to implement the treatment once high lead levels were detected, and manipulating water samples by telling residents to “pre-flush” their taps the night before samples were drawn.
Flint’s water crisis began after the their water source was switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River. Not only did the city fail to use corrosion control chemicals to prevent lead from contaminating the drinking water, but they failed to report accurate lead readings due to not following testing guidelines per federal requirements.
Notably, the one person many believe should be held responsible, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, was not charged with anything. Many people expressed harsh outrage that the Governor has so far avoided any charges:
— The Baxter Bean (@TheBaxterBean) April 20, 2016
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) April 20, 2016
Attorney General Bill Schuette did state that these charges are “only the beginning” and that no one guilty will be able to escape justice because “no one is above the law.”