Michigan’s Top Health Official, Four Others Charged with Manslaughter In Flint Water Investigation

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Five Michigan state officials will finally be held responsible for their roles in the widespread water contamination crisis that crippled the city of Flint.

Michigan’s health department director and four other officials involved in the crisis were charged Wednesday, June 14, with involuntary manslaughter, the most severe charges so far in the criminal investigation, according to The Detroit News.

Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon was accused of misconduct in office in addition to the involuntary manslaughter charge, making him the highest–ranking member of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to go down in the water probe. Both offenses are felonies in the state.

Water Supervisor Stephen Busch, former Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft and ex-Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith also were charged with manslaughter for failing to notify the public about an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in the Flint area. The outbreak, which some experts have attributed to a state emergency manager’s decision to switch the city’s water supply in 2014, left 12 people dead and 79 others severely sickened, the newspaper reported.

Each of the manslaughter charges carry a penalty of up to 15 years behind bars and a $7,500 fine, while the misconduct charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“The families of Flint have experienced a tragic, tragic health and safety crisis for the past three years,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said at a news conference Wednesday, adding that Lyon and the others had failed to protect the people of Flint. “Many people have died because of the decisions [other] people made.”

Schuette launched an investigation into the water crisis in January of 2016 to determine if any laws were broken in the state’s decision that created “the contamination crisis currently forcing Flint’s residents to rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing, as they fear for their health.”

To date, more than 13 current and former state and local officials have been criminally charged in connection with the crisis. The Detroit News reported that Busch, Croft and Shekter-Smith also were charged with less-serious crimes last year. Moreover, Shuette made it clear that he hasn’t ruled out possible charges against Snyder.

“There are two types of people in the world — those who give a damn and those who don’t,” Special Prosecutor Todd Flood said. “This is a case where there has been willful disregard” for the health and safety of other people.

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist


N.C. police officer charged with fatal shooting of unarmed man due in court

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A North Carolina police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man who had apparently been involved in a car wreck early Saturday was expected to appear in court Monday, nearly two days after authorities charged him with a count of voluntary manslaughter.

Images: mediate

Jonathan A. Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M University football player and recent North Carolina transplant, was allegedly fatally shot by Officer Randall Kerrick after Ferrell had apparently crashed his vehicle off a northeast Charlotte road.

Ferrell then sought help at a nearby residence, according to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Keith R. Trietley. A woman answered the door, believing her husband had come home from work. And when she didn’t recognize Ferrell, she immediately called 911, reporting a robbery attempt around 2:30 a.m.

Officers responding to the woman’s breaking-and-entering call discovered Ferrell, who matched the woman’s description of the possible robbery suspect, near the home, police said. As they approached him, Ferrell allegedly charged at the officers, one of whom stunned him with a Taser.

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