The Flint water crisis continues to get more interesting, and it may lead to unprecedented results, as two of the officials who were involved have been given felony charges. The charges are for tampering with evidence in the case and for misconduct in office, among other things. Experts have noted that a water contamination case has never seen charges like this before.
The recent charges involving the water crisis stemmed from the fact that lead levels in the water were at an elevated level that was especially dangerous to young children. Flint residents used this water for drinking, bathing and much more for months before being told about it. Some have said that the government knew about the issue far in advance and tried to shield it from the residents, intentionally putting them in harm's way.
Falsification of Reports
The recent charges seem to support the theory that the government knew and actively tried to keep people from finding out, as they claim that officials actually falsified reports, altering their findings so that lead levels were lower on the reports than they were in reality. This has brought about neglect of duty charges, as well as the aforementioned tampering charges.
Of course, no convictions have been made yet, but the ramifications could be serious if they are. The felony charges alone could put officials in jail for four or five years. The accompanying misdemeanor charges could tack on fines that may total as much as $10,000.
What's different about this case, officials say, is that the regulators are being targeted. In other water contamination cases, the system operators are usually targeted, as they send contaminated water to people until regulators catch them. In this case, if the regulators themselves changed the numbers and allowed it to happen, they could be given charges that are more serious than anyone else will see. It's a unique situation because of the alleged government involvement.
As you can imagine, cases like this can get very complex, as blame is passed off at multiple levels within the government. Residents will need to keep an eye on the proceedings so that they know what rights they have to compensation.
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