Flint water crisis investigation: Here’s who was charged

9 people indicted on 41 total counts

Nine charged in Flint water crisis probe: (First row, From top left to right). Rick Snyder; Nick Lyon; Darnell Earley; (Second row): Richard Baird; Gerald Ambrose; Nancy Ann Peeler; (Third row): Howard Croft; Eden Wells; Jarrod Agen.
Nine charged in Flint water crisis probe: (First row, From top left to right). Rick Snyder; Nick Lyon; Darnell Earley; (Second row): Richard Baird; Gerald Ambrose; Nancy Ann Peeler; (Third row): Howard Croft; Eden Wells; Jarrod Agen. (WDIV)

FLINT, Mich. – After a lengthy investigation into the Flint water crisis, which started more than five years ago, investigators announced a slew of charges, including against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy today announced that after 12 months of grand jury proceedings nine individuals have been indicted on a total of 41 counts “related to a series of alleged actions and inactions that created the historic injustice” of the Flint Water Crisis.

The two biggest names include former Gov. Snyder, who becomes the first former governor to be charged with a crime in state history, and former MDHHS chief Nick Lyon, who is facing multiple involuntary manslaughter charges.

Former Gov. Rick Snyder, 8 others formally charged in Flint water probe
Former Gov. Rick Snyder, 8 others formally charged in Flint water probe

Here’s the full list of charges:

Jarrod Agen – Former Director of Communications and Former Chief of Staff, Executive Office of Gov. Rick Snyder

  • One count of perjury – a 15-year felony

Gerald Ambrose – Former City of Flint Emergency Manager

  • Four counts of misconduct in office – each a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine

Richard Baird – Former Transformation Manager and Senior Adviser, Executive Office of Gov. Snyder

  • One count of perjury – a 15-year felony
  • One count of official misconduct in office – a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine
  • One count of obstruction of justice – a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine
  • One count of extortion – a 20-year felony and/or $10,000 fine

Howard Croft – Former Director of the City of Flint Department of Public Works

  • Two counts of willful neglect of duty – each a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine

Darnell Earley – Former City of Flint Emergency Manager

  • Three counts of misconduct in office – each a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine

Nicolas Lyon – Former Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter – each a 15-year felony and/or $7,500 fine
  • One count of willful neglect of duty – a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine

Nancy Peeler – Current Early Childhood Health Section Manager, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • Two counts of misconduct in office – each a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine
  • One count of willful neglect of duty – a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine

Richard Snyder – Former Governor of Michigan

  • Two counts of willful neglect of duty – each a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine

Eden Wells – Former Chief Medical Executive, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter – each a 15-year felony and/or $7,500 fine
  • Two counts of misconduct in office – each a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine
  • One count of willful neglect of duty – a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine

The defendants turned themselves in and were arraigned today before Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly for the Seventh Circuit Court and Chief Judge Christopher Odette for the 67th District Court. Details on their arraignments and subsequent court dates will be forthcoming. (Copies of the indictments are available here)

“When an entire city is victimized by the negligence and indifference of those in power, it deserves an uncompromising investigation that holds to account anyone who is criminally culpable. That is what all residents in this state are entitled to, regardless of their ZIP code. And that is what this prosecution team did. Our approach was simple—where we believed the evidence would prove a criminal charge, we sought and obtained indictments for those crimes,” said Solicitor General Hammoud. “We must remember that the Flint Water Crisis is not some relic of the past. At this very moment, the people of Flint continue to suffer from the categorical failure of public officials at all levels of government, who trampled upon their trust, and evaded accountability for far too long. We understand that our work is not done and although the criminal justice system alone cannot remedy all the suffering that every person endured, we took our part seriously. We hope others will do the same to ensure this never, ever happens again.”

“This case has nothing to do with partisanship. It has to do with human decency, resurrecting the complete abandonment of the people of Flint, and finally, finally, holding people accountable for the unspeakable alleged atrocities that harmed this city for years,” said Prosecutor Worthy. “Pure and simple this case is about justice, truth, accountability, poisoned children, lost lives, shattered families that are still not whole, and simply giving a damn about all of humanity.”

Flint water crisis

Flint was in financial trouble in 2014 when a Snyder-appointed manager who was running the city carried out a money-saving decision to use the Flint River for water while a regional pipeline from Lake Huron was under construction. The corrosive water, however, wasn’t treated properly and released lead from old plumbing into homes in one of the worst manmade environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Despite pleas from residents holding jugs of discolored, skunky water, the Snyder administration took no significant action until a doctor reported elevated lead levels in children about 18 months later.

“I’m sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder promised during his 2016 State of the State speech.

Authorities counted at least 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, including 12 deaths. Some experts found there wasn’t enough chlorine in the water-treatment system to control legionella bacteria, which can trigger a severe form of pneumonia when spread through misting and cooling systems.

In August 2020, a settlement of a lawsuit filed was reached on behalf of residents of Flint who were harmed by lead-tainted water. As of November it totaled about $641 million.


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