Michigan dropped criminal charges against state officials reportedly involved in Flint’s drinking water crisis, according to a Thursday report by Detroit Free Press.
Fifteen people were originally charged under the case, seven of whom had pleaded no contest to misdemeanors in exchange for information relevant to the remaining prosecutions.
Among those absolved today was the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services, who was accused of involuntary manslaughter. The charges of a number of Health Department staff were also dismissed.
Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, who is handling the criminal charges, will meet with the Flint community on June 28 to explain the decision.
Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worth criticized the investigation's treatment of evidence and claimed law firms representing the implicated government agencies had an inappropriate role in deciding what information would be turned over to law enforcement. " Contrary to accepted standards of criminal investigation and prosecution, all available evidence was not pursued.”
The Flint water crisis began in 2014 after the Flint river became one of the city's primary drinking water sources. The switch exposed 100,000 residents to high lead levels and may be linked to more than a dozen cases of Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by contaminated water systems.