The tragedy that has plagued the City of Flint, Michigan is a reminder of the need for consistent oversight and quick responses to national emergencies. It has been four years since the issues in Flint were declared a national emergency. The water that the people depended on became so polluted that it was impossible for them to drink.
Since that fateful day, there has been an ongoing investigation into government employees and others that were accused of failing to act in a timely manner, some were accused of covering up the truth, and many other accusations. But this past week the case was dropped and all charges against people were dismissed. The prosecutors that are working the case have decided it is time to start over and build a case from the ground up.
Prosecutors believe that the way the investigation has been going under the former Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was not the correct way to handle the matter. The former OSC that was appointed to the issue was done so by the former Attorney General Bill Schuette. The problem that was discovered was that there were private law firms that were used to help gather the needed information, and they were given the option of what documentation would be handed over to the appropriate authorities.
Fadwa Hammoud, who is the Solicitor General, and Kym L. Worthy, who is the Wayne County Prosecutor are the ones that are now taking the new case in a different direction. They have stated, “We cannot provide the citizens of Flint the investigation they rightly deserve by continuing to build on a flawed foundation.” They believe that the people of Flint deserve to have every angle of this matter looked into and the appropriate people brought to justice should any wrong be discovered.
Many people within the Flint area feel like they have been let down. Hammoud and Worthy are planning community questions and answer time on June 28. They will bring to the community the reasons why they are starting over. Melissa Mays, who is the founder of the Water You Fighting For advocacy group, has stated, “I was horrified. I felt blindsided. The way we saw the message delivered today is hurtful. It was retraumatizing.” She had found out about the decision through a third party news outlet.
Many people in the Flint area are having to install personal water filtration systems, which are not cheap. Mays family is one of those saving for such a system, and she noted, “We have a constant fear that this will never be fixed. It’s not fair. We didn’t ask to be poisoned.”
On the other side of the aisle the Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, stated, “I am happy to see that this case is being handled with the seriousness and dogged determination that it should have been handled from the beginning.” She also said about the former handling of the case as, “an entire administration’s clear lack of respect for human life and common decency, another attempt to cover up what should have never happened, to begin with.”
Feelings of disapproval are still strong with many as the changeup has taken place, “Monica Galloway, who is a member of the city council, stated, “The lead impact on our children hasn’t even been realized, which means that there are many unknowns for their future. They haven’t been made whole. It causes me to believe that Gov. Snyder just got a get out of jail free card. The people that are responsible will be walking away free.”
It is reasonable to think that the new investigation will bring new charges against those that are responsible. The problem is that the people of Flint will have to wait longer now for a verdict and a solution to be found.
Many people living in Flint are having to buy their water in bottles now and are not receiving any relief from their current water bills. They are still expected to pay for the majority of the water that they are no longer able to use for drinking, cooking, and even bathing.