With whom the blame for the poisoned water and subsequent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, Michigan lies is still being determined. But the top investigator on the case says that when all is said and done, government officials could face charges as serious as involuntary manslaughter.
Todd Flood, who was appointed special counsel by Michigan’s attorney general last month, told reporters yesterday evening that if officials were “grossly negligent” in their handling of Flint’s water crisis, an involuntary manslaughter charge could be on the table. “It’s not far-fetched,” he said.
“If I knew something bad was going on...and I just want to turn my blind eye, that could be a problem,” he added.
It is already clear that many officials “knew something bad was going on” before the people of Flint did, but as the Washington Post notes, city, state, and federal officials can’t stop passing the buck:
Last week, the EPA’s acting water chief Joel Beauvais told Congress that Michigan—under the leadership of Gov. Snyder, a Republican—had ignored federal advice to treat Flint’s water for corrosive elements, which are believed to have eroded old lead pipes and contaminated drinking water...
State officials shot back, however, claiming that the EPA did not act urgently enough, either.
Snyder has apologized for the crisis, but he continues to claim that he was ignorant about certain elements of it, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. His office recently released a statement claiming Snyder wasn’t briefed on the Legionnaires’ outbreak until last month, even though emails show his aides were aware of a potential link a early as March 2015.