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Four more public officials are facing criminal charges due to the scandal over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, discovered in mid-2014. These four new defendants bring the number of people charged with a crime in a relation to the scandal up to 13. The four officials include two former state emergency managers, Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose, and two Flint city water plant officials, Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson.
The two state employees are facing felony charges that could land them each 20-year prison sentences. The state level employees are the highest level officials charged thus far in the scandal. Both Earley and Ambrose reported directly to the state governor. The charges stem from knowingly endangering the public and failing to protect the public from the health hazard. The two water plant officials also face serious felony charges as well for conspiring with Earley and Ambrose.
The Flint Water Crisis
While Flint, Michigan was experiencing severe financial trouble, the city's water source was changed in order to save money. Unfortunately, the new water source could not be properly treated, which resulted in very high levels of lead in the water, which is very bad for people.
Even after the people of Flint spoke up, nothing was done until the crisis reached the national media. By that time, many residents had become literally sick. While much of problem has been remediated, there are still many Flint residents who are unable to get potable drinking water.
What makes the Flint water crisis a scandal is the fact that those in charge knew that there was a problem, and did not act. Earley had received emails in 2015 from the county health department that the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease was flourishing in the water. Despite this information, and more, Earley and other officials publicly stated the water was safe.