Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed involuntary manslaughter charges against one of the state officials responsible for the Flint water scandal in 2015, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Shuette, a Republican, charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon is accused of neglecting to inform the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area shortly after high levels of lead were discovered in the city’s water supply.
Shuette brought charges last year against three other state employees connected to the years-long crisis.
Health and Human Services employees Nancy Peeler, Robert Scott and Corrine Miller, were charged with misconduct in office, as well as conspiring to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty. The three state employees allegedly withheld or disregarded blood tests showing high lead levels. But Lyon is the highest-ranking official to be charged.
Schuette also charged in July 2016 one Flint water department employee, as well as two mid-level Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulators in April with felonies and misdemeanors for allowing people to continue drinking Flint’s lead-tainted water, The New York Times reported at the time. One of the employees is charged with tampering with government documents.
Michigan officials switched the small Eastern Michigan city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in a bid to save money. But the state applied the wrong regulations and standards for drinking water, which ultimately resulted in corroded pipes.
The AG has charged 13 defendants in the case.
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