41ºF

Michigan AG: We're not going to short-change justice in Flint water crisis probe

Investigators determining what, if any, laws were broken

FLINT, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Tuesday his team will not "short-change" justice in the investigation into Flint's water crisis. 

Read: Michigan AG says things went 'terribly, terribly wrong' in Flint

In January, Schuette said Todd Flood -- a former assistant prosecutor in Wayne County -- will spearhead the state's investigation into what, if any, laws were broken in the process that left Flint's water contaminated with lead.  Andy Arena -- the former head of the FBI's Detroit office -- also is part of the investigation team.

Flood said Monday his team of investigators, which he called "top-shelf," will be looking into everything from involuntary manslaughter to misconduct in office. 

"Two things have to happen for a crime to be committed: A guilty mind and guilty act put together," said Flood.

Arena said they are focusing on a timeline of events and the key points. 

"When were the bad decisions made?" he said. 

Arena went on to call this the "biggest case in the history of the state of Michigan."

The team of investigators includes Ellis Stafford, of the Detroit Crime Commission and formerly with the Michigan State Police. Stafford said this is personal for him. 

"In a perfect world we wouldn't be investigating my city. I'm from Flint. I was born and raise there. I got a personal stake in this," he said. 

The financially struggling city switched from Detroit's municipal water system and began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The water wasn't properly treated to prevent lead from pipes from leaching into the supply.

Residents have been urged to use bottled water and to put filters on faucets.

Lead contamination of Flint water draws multiple lawsuits

Residents of Flint have filed lawsuits against almost anyone who may have had a role in supplying the city with water that contained dangerous amounts of lead.

The lawsuits name Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, the former Flint mayor, rank-and-file public employees and others. The complaints accuse them of violating civil rights, wrecking property values and enriching themselves by selling a contaminated product.

One lawsuit seeks to replace lead-leaching water lines at no cost to customers. Another seeks money for thousands of Flint residents who unwittingly drank the toxic water. A third complaint has been filed on behalf of people with Legionnaires' disease.

About 1,700 households have contacted a Detroit-area firm about joining a class-action case filed in November.

Read: Detroit law firm sues Flint, state for poisoned 2-year-old


About the Author: