Four more officials charged over Flint water crisis

Researchers testing the water in Flint, Michigan. 

CBS News

FLINT, Mich. - The Michigan attorney general announced criminal charges against four new officials in the Flint water investigation.

Nine people so far have already been charged in an investigation of Flint’s lead-tainted water system and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Those nine are eight current or former state employees and a Flint water plant employee.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said at a news conference Tuesday: “The crisis in Flint was a casualty of arrogance, disdain and a failure of management. An absence of accountability. We will proceed to deliver justice and hold those accountable who broke the law.”

CBS Detroit reports that Schuette announced new charges against two former State of Michigan Emergency Managers, Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose, including multiple 20-year felonies for their failure to protect the citizens of Flint from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water.

Additionally, Schuette announced that Earley and Ambrose, along with ex-City of Flint executives Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson, also face felony charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses related to their roles in a process that led to the issuance bonds to pay for a portion of the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) project.

Tuesday’s s announcement was the third round of criminal charges brought by Schuette in the Flint Water Investigation. Schuette has also filed a round of civil law suits against water supply engineering firms.

In October, an attorney for Nick Lyon, the head of the Michigan health department, said his client is a target of Schuette’s investigation. Lyon hasn’t been charged and still leads the agency.

Flint’s water system became contaminated with lead because water from the Flint River wasn’t treated for corrosion for 18 months. The water ate away at a protective coating inside old pipes and fixtures, releasing lead.