LANSING, MI (AP)-- All remaining criminal charges of city and state officials stemming from the Flint Water Crisis have been dismissed.
The investigation was started by former Attorney General, Bill Schuette in 2016 after lead contaminated Flint’s drinking water when the city switched its water sources. Earlier this year, new AG Dana Nessel created the Flint Water Crisis prosecution team to handle the multiple pending cases and investigation going forward.
The state Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy are leading the investigation separate from the state Attorney General’s office.
Hammoud and Worthy said they have concerns over how the investigation and cases were handled by the prior administration.
“Legitimate criminal prosecutions require complete investigations,” Hammoud and Worthy said in a joint statement. “Upon assuming responsibility of this case, our team of career prosecutors and investigators had immediate and grave concerns about the investigative approach and legal theories embraced by the OSC, particularly regarding the pursuit of evidence. After a complete evaluation, our concerns were validated.”
The prosecution team is dismissing the charges against eight people – including former state top doctor Eden Wells and former Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon.
Lyon’s attorney, Chip Chamberlin says he’s confident the charges against his client – which include involuntary manslaughter - will not be refiled.
“We didn’t feel that it was a fair investigation and we felt that it was politically motivated,” he said. “Setting that aside we didn’t feel there was a legal basis for any of the charges.”
Former AG Schuette said the investigation was, “staffed and conducted with the highest level of professionalism and expertise.”
In a statement, Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) said the dismissal is an insult to the people of Flint.
“At this point we’re not talking in weeks or months but in years that have been lost, not in hundreds or thousands, but in millions of dollars that have been wasted,” Neeley said. “We’ve been told to wait, to be patient, that justice was coming, but where is that justice today? My city is losing faith in our government, and that distrust was justified today when it once again failed them so miserably.
Hammoud and Worthy will not respond to media requests until after a “community conversation” in Flint on June 28th.