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Seven years later, court still working to determine responsibility for Flint Water Crisis

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s been seven years since the City of Flint began taking water from the Flint River without treating it properly, resulting in it’s contamination with lead.

It was in April of 2014 that the switch was made, and residents quickly reported the water’s smell, taste and appearance, as being off. They also raised health concerns, reporting rashes, hair loss and other problems. Those concerns would turn out to be well founded, as blood tests in children in Flint confirmed elevated levels of lead.

Flint has since switched it’s water source back to the Detroit river, though to this day many residents are wary of drinking it on the word of public officials who once told them the water from the Flint River would be safe.

Then in 2020, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that her office felt they had sufficient evidence to charge several officials for crimes relating to the water crisis. One such official was the governor in charge as the crisis developed, Rick Snyder.

Former Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been charged after the Attorney General’s office conducted a new investigation of the Flint water crisis.

In January of 2021, Snyder appeared in a Genesee County courtroom where he was arraigned on two counts of willful neglect of duty, pleading not guilty to both charges. He received a $10,000 personal bond for both counts and currently is not allowed to leave the state of Michigan.

Court proceedings will continue for some time, with Snyder’s legal team and the prosecution likely to present their cases nearly entirely remotely via Zoom. COVID-19 has of course complicated the already complex logistics of presenting these cases, which revolve around the highest level decision making in the State of Michigan.

If convicted, Snyder faces up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000. All charges against Snyder are misdemeanors.

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