Three Michigan state and local officials were criminally charged on Wednesday in connection with the state attorney general’s investigation into dangerous lead levels in Flint’s drinking water.
Genesee District Judge Tracy Collier-Nix authorized charges against Flint employee Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) employees Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby.
Glasgow, 40, was charged with tampering with evidence and willful neglect of duty, according to court documents.
Busch, 40, and Prysby, 53, were each charged with six counts, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence and violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, according to court documents. Busch, a district manager in the drinking water division, had already been suspended.
The Detroit News, citing a source, said more indictments would be filed.
The three people charged could not immediately be reached for comment. Officials with the city of Flint and MDEQ also could not be reached.
Dena Altheide, a court administrator, said no court dates or arraignments have been set. Michigan’s attorney general has scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference to make an announcement related to its probe of the crisis.
Flint, a city of about 100,000 people, was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2014 when it switched its source of water from Detroit’s municipal system to the Flint River to save money. The city switched back in October.
The river water was more corrosive than the Detroit system’s and caused more lead to leach from its aging pipes. Lead can be toxic and children are especially vulnerable. The crisis has prompted lawsuits by parents who say their children are showing dangerously high blood levels of lead.
Attorney General Bill Schuette in January named a special prosecutor to lead a team to probe whether criminal charges should be filed in the water crisis.
In February, former Wayne County prosecutor Todd Flood, who has led the probe, said his team would look at what possible crimes were committed in the crisis.
“The criminal charges against MDEQ officials are one step towards justice for the families of Flint who were poisoned as a result of the actions of Governor (Rick) Snyder’s administration,” U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said in a statement.
Cummings and other House Democrats have called for Snyder to step down because of the state’s poor handling of the crisis, something the governor has said he would not do.
Ari Adler, a spokesman for Snyder, said the governor has supported the probe “because the people of Flint and across Michigan are owed straight answers about how the Flint water crisis happened.” The governor has said the state would pursue evidence of wrongdoing and hold people accountable.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman; additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey in Washington; editing by Diane Craft)
New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.
Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.
A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors
Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.
ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.
"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.
‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’
President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.
At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."
After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."
Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack: